Watching Twinkle pull her hair back with a studded bat headband, balancing on one foot, using her left heal to scratch the back of her right knee, I could see every cliché about the passage of time floating in the five feet of space between us. Somewhere between the parenting books and self-doubt, between the plans of perfect parenting and the sometimes more fake-it-till-you-make-it reality, my husband and I served as guardians and guides to the creation of an amazing person. Watching her this morning getting ready to tackle Grade 1, refusing to check the class list before she went because she could always just make lots of new friends when she arrived, I saw in her glimpses of all the traits I prayed she would have. I see in her a sensitive soul who not only recognizes the inherent worth in all people, but sees it in herself as well.
I held a freshly hatched baby on Sunday, one whose birth I have waited for with joyful anticipation since the first moments of my own first child’s conception. The man who stood up as the best man in my wedding, the person with the most deeply engrained presence in all happy childhood memories, gingerly handed me his life’s most poignant accomplishment. As he whipped the antibacterial gel out of his pocket and deftly passed his baby to me he quipped “it’s been a while since your babies were this small”. I smiled. With the days of parenting long but the years short, I can still close my eyes and put myself back into the first moments of my children’s lives. It was written in the stars that he would be an excellent father. Watching him hold his baby, then seeing my own children fly by in a blur of limbs and laughter, the world seemed to stand still in this perfect moment.
Looking at Twinkle today, unpacking her lunch box and telling me exactly how much I forgot about making lunches during our two month vacation, I was grateful I taught her to ask for what she wants instead of passively taking what was given. Watching her go to the pantry herself to change out items and make her lunch fit the specific wants of the day I was grateful I taught her that when she doesn’t like something she has the power to change it.
When we arrived at school there was only happiness and excitement in her face as she marched to line up by her classroom. Her principal, many teachers and kids of all ages and grades called out and enquired about her summer vacation. One little boy whooped with joy when he saw that she was in his class again. Twinkle has figured out what it takes many of us decades to learn – being true to yourself, even if it makes you stand out when everyone else is trying to fit in, is so totally worth it.
Best Man was right- it has been a long time since my little ones were squishy bundles of pink skin. Watching Twinkle today I felt like the intervening years, where her newness faded and her personality emerged, was the perfect length of time. Yes, it went too fast. But when she gives me glimpses of who she is becoming, and when I remember how much I loved every stage of life she have ever lived through, I feel like platitudes of time aren’t necessary. I am overwhelmed by the honor it is to have a front row seat in her life and so grateful to be her mom.