We spent a couple of days this weekend up north at the lake house with your grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousin from my side of the family. Our trips to the lake house are always relaxing and fun, and seeing you get more comfortable with the lake, the dock, the boats, and the general surroundings is a sign of your growing independence.
Yesterday morning, your Aunt Janelle and I went kayaking out on the lake together, taking in the beautiful morning, admiring some of the other lake front properties, and just chatting. At one point your Aunt said "Just think, before you know it, Delilah will be old enough to kayak on this lake with you!" I smiled at the thought; then she quickly followed with, "But I suppose by the time she can handle a kayak by herself, she'll be too old to want to hang out with mom."
All of this is still a long way off, but just bringing its inevitability into my awareness is enough to inspire me to be more present in each moment, to more fully celebrate and appreciate each milestone I get to share with you or see firsthand.
Last night, shortly after you'd fallen asleep, you awoke again, crying out in what sounded like fear, perhaps from a bad dream. Your father went in to comfort you, and after he left, you started crying again. Tired after our weekend and wanting nothing more than to curl up in front of the TV with your daddy and turn my brain off, I begrudgingly made my way to your bedroom to take a turn at comforting and hopefully soothing you back to sleep.
As I laid down next to you and started gently rubbing your back and stroking your hair, I thought again of your Aunt's words about you being too big to want to hang around with your mother. It occurred to me that along with increasing independence will come more complex challenges to overcome, more painful emotions, and more exposure to all that is ugly in this world. I couldn't hold back my tears as I thought about how precious this time is, when your greatest troubles are bad dreams, and when those troubles can easily be soothed by my presence and loving touch. There will come a time, all too soon, when I cannot make everything all better with a hand on your back or my fingers in your hair.
So I laid there longer than I had planned to, drinking in the beauty of your innocence in the dim light of your night light, and relishing this brief time of my motherly omnipotence. Right on cue, your little brother or sister, nestled in my womb, gave me a good solid kick, reminding me of an era that will come to end much sooner than that of you needing your mama. The days of your era as my only child are numbered, and this time for you and I will soon come to end. This time with you has been so special to me. You made me a mother. You, the daughter that I always dreamed of having, have taught me so much about myself, about what is important to me, and about what is important for the future of our world. As excited as I am for us to become a family of four, I know that a part of me will always miss your first years, when it was just you, me, and your daddy, loving each other and growing into the family we've become, just the three of us.