This week, my oldest returned to school. It’s a marker for me – a clear indicator that summer as we know it is almost over.
As the final weeks of the season slip away, I find myself grasping for whatever is left of it. An ice cream date after school. An evening trip to the park. A bowl filled with berries, bubbles, and sandals.
I’m not ready to say goodbye. Even when it’s so hot that it feels unbearable, there’s something magnificent about the summer season.
As my littlest inches closer to her second birthday, I find myself holding onto whatever is left of babyhood the same way I’m holding onto what remains of summer. I know she’s a toddler, and yet there are still glimmers of a baby in there. Even when motherhood feels challenging and I feel unequipped, there’s still something magnificent about this season too. Again, I’m not ready to say goodbye.
I was given a second chance at babyhood. My oldest taught me many valuable lessons, and in showing me how fast the baby stage ventured beyond my grasp, I knew that this time, I had to hold on to this season with everything I had. I knew that I had to live in it — allowing it to warm my heart the way the sun warms my cheeks when we dance along the shore during our beach adventures.
As a mother, I stand here trying to hold on and let go at the same time. She’s blossoming. And as she blossoms, so do I.
Each day I look at her, she’s a little different. Bigger, more self aware. Her vocabulary is constantly increasing. “Mommy where are you?” she yells, while downstairs in the kitchen with her daddy.
I’m in the bedroom folding her clothes. Size 24 months. Trying to come to terms with the fact that this is the last month I will refer to my baby’s age in months. After this it is size 2T and she’ll be two years old. I’m folding clothes and putting them away. Tucking a few favorites in the corners of the drawer to ooh and aaah over later.
I’m putting away memories too. Memories of a baby who has transformed into a toddler. Tucking them into the corners of my heart to revisit later.
Each night, I hold her in my arms and inhale. Her breaths, her smell. Taking in all of it. Holding her. Holding what is left in what has been such a beautiful gift to my spirit.
Soon, summer will be over and a new season will arrive. Our adventures will take shape in a different way and new joys will abound – pumpkin pie, cozy sweaters (size 2T) and a toddler who (along with the help of her big sister) will help her mama to see the sweetness that abounds in the here and now. A new season worthy of inhaling and taking in.
And this mama will finally stop grasping at what is moving beyond her reach — at least long enough to hold onto and cherish what is.