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.
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.