If you blink, you might miss it.

It happens so quickly, it is almost imperceptible.  A new word, a slight change in mannerisms, a small shift in features.  You might be walking through a room, barely paying attention… and there it is in your peripheral vision.  So fleeting, so quick, you barely see it.  But you do see it, and you catch your breath.  She grew up.  Your daughter just grew up a tiny bit more, and you saw it happen seemingly right before your very eyes.  You catch your breath because you remember.  The infant in diapers.  First words, first steps, first everythings.  You remember and long for just one more moment before she grows up.   Just one more moment to soak her in before she is no longer this her, but an older version of herself.

I saw it in a flash when Maddie asked the waitress, “Excuse me, but may I please have a kiddie cocktail with extra cherries?”  My breath caught.  Such grown-up words, such manners.  I smiled at the polite little lady my Maddie is becoming.  She is growing up.  It breaks my heart a little.

I almost missed it, but didn’t, when Katie made a joke and laughed at it herself.  Not a toddler giggle, but a full-out, from-the-throat, ends-with-a-snort laugh. My breath caught.  She has a sense of humor now?  I smiled at Katie’s silliness.  She is growing up.  It breaks my heart a little.

This is all part of being a mom, I suppose.

But then…

It happened so slowly, I almost didn’t notice.  She stopped driving at night and started locking all her doors.  She declines invitations to do things outside if it is too hot, too cold, too windy, too sunny.  She wants to talk about her neighbor in the nursing home and the price of gas and Social Security.  Her hands are wrinkled, and her hair is gray.  My mom.  All of a sudden, my breath catches.  She is growing old.  It breaks my heart a lot.

Because someday, I know, her and I will run out of moments.

Join in Slice of Life Story writing on Tuesdays!  Add your link at Two Writing Teachers.

Join in Slice of Life Story writing on Tuesdays! Add your link at Two Writing Teachers.


21 thoughts on “Moments

  1. Oh man. How do you do it? I am in such awe of your ability to pull a reader in and keep ’em there. There I was enjoying the beautiful ways your two little daughters are showing their “grown up” sides. And then, BAM, you hit me in the gut. The paragraph about your mom. Everyone in your life is aging. All to be expected, of course. But, heart breaking each in their own way to be sure. The tears are finally drying up now.

  2. Dana, I gasped out loud when I read this post. I lost my Grandmother last fall; which allowed me to look at my own parents. Aging. This is just simply beautiful. I’m sure I’ll return to it later today.

  3. What a beautiful, powerful post, it brought me to tears, An important message, that we as humans must stop and notice what is happening in the here and now before it is a fleeting memory.

  4. Oh Dana. So beautiful. You blow me away. Those moments. This line: “she is no longer this her, but an older version of herself” and then this “I know, her and I will run out of moments” are heartbreakingly true. We all (if we are lucky and noticing) have these moments. Thank you for capturing them so beautifully.

  5. The “kiddie cocktail” and Maddie’s impeccable manners had my laughing aloud. And then I read the part about your mom and my eyes welled-up with tears. I don’t know how you managed to capture such joy and such sadness in one short piece of writing, but this is wrought with emotion and quite, quite beautiful.

    Speaking of which… you, Betsy, and I need to chat about the daily inspirations for the March Challenge. IF you guys want to do these again, then this is one of the ones I want to share during my ten days. Shoot me an email and lmk if that’d be okay with you. This writing is too gorgeous not to be shared again in March.

  6. Life is a roller coaster ride. You perfectly captured the ups along with the downs. Although all rides must end, I try to enjoy every minute of it as it is going on.

  7. I think I need a box of tissues now – you have me at both ends of my own life: the kids who’ve left, the mother who is preparing to leave. Beautiful, beautiful post, my friend.

  8. This piece will touch everyone who reads it. You have written the words to describe my thinking/feelings as I watch my mom, too. I was smiling through the girls’ story, but tears sprang up as I got to your mom. Wow!

  9. Dana, you always bring it all home in your pieces…I knew it was your mom as you started writing…just spent a lots of hours in Niles yesterday. I swallow when I think that I wasn’t noticing those moments. This was very important for me to read tonight. Thank you. xo

  10. Oh, growing older is hard, no matter what the age! It’s hard to see our little girls grow up, but at the same time, it’s fun to see that happen. But oh, like you captured it, it’s hard to see our loved ones age.

  11. Ouch. I was with you entirely until the end. That’s a hard thing to think. The last line. Running out of moments. That gave me chills. Beautiful chills. Really engaging juxtaposition you did here. Sweet and scary.

  12. And that, as your wrote, is your life, isn’t it? Those wonderful, smiling, catch-in-your-throat, moments that make who we are, all the years. Dana, what a lovely piece. Thank you.

  13. This is so lovely, Dana. I love how you wove being a mother and being a daughter into one powerful message: savor every moment. They are a gift. Thank you for sharing the gift of your writing with us!

  14. I posted about my mom in today’s Slice of Life (March 3) because it is her birthday. What I didn’t post is between Christmas, when the story happened, and now, mom had a fall and I thought we had lost her. To come to your link after posting, I am so grateful. For your post and for my mom. Thank you, Dana.

  15. What a masterful, moving post. Your words will linger throughout my day and inspire me to remember to wrap my heart and mind around all those small special moments that make up our lives. Thank you for sharing.

  16. The first part made me smile – took me back to the early days with my children. So true. But then your last paragraph clutched my heart. I have already lost my moments with my mom. Now I can see myself a bit in your description. I want lots more moments with my children. So powerful a post.

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