My baby girl, Brynja, is so darling. I marvel at the fact that she is 19 months old. I wish I was better at taking pictures so I could share her charms with the world, but, for now, writing will have to suffice. She has been my latest bloomer in the speech department. Not to say that she's not communicating, because she most certainly is. She has the most precious ways of expressing herself and telling us what she wants. She hums and squeaks and signs, and very recently, has started to open her world even further by trying to use a few more words. I swear that she tried to say "street sweeper" today as she and I giggled at the machine sweeping our leaves from the gutters. She is my pal on these long days with the other kids in school. We have so much fun.
Just today we played with a plastic elephant and a stuffed armadillo. We made them run like horses and I would try to make elephant noises. Brynja thought this was hysterical. She laughed her big, open-mouth laughed, exposing her new molars and her yet-to-be-I-teeth holes. It's the cutest thing. She laughs with gusto and gallops around the house like a joyful little horsey. She brings delight to our home like sunshine warming the sidewalk. I love her so much.
Bedtime or nap time is my favorite. As soon as I turn off her light and settle in the glider next to her bed, she snuggles her little head into my neck or chest and calms herself down. Sometimes I sing her a song, other times I simply rock her and wonder at the love flowing between us. It's like a force of nature that is impossible to resist. Not that I'd want to resist it. I just jump in and bask in the glow of that love. I just want to squeeze her and never let her go. I often feel a sense of loss as I lay her in her bed, the heavy weight of her small body taken from me and put down for her autonomous nap.
I get it now. I really get it.
People used to say to me when my other kids were small, "Oh... treasure this time! It goes so fast. Before you know it, they'll be driving and then off to college!" or something like that. They said it all the time! I'd smile at them through clenched teeth as I heard these words for what felt like the thousandth time. They really meant well, but I just wanted to punch them or tell them to shut up. They didn't know how hard those days were! And they were hard. Mac, in particular, was a challenging child, and I just couldn't wait for each day to end so I could see my little kids asleep, looking angelic and not fighting with each other. (He definitely had his sweet moments too... I don't want to discount those, but I remember the challenging times best, it seems!)
I can't cite the source, or perhaps even the correct quote, but recently I heard something that went like, "Motherhood is full of the longest days and the shortest years."
How true that is! Each day can feel like an eternity, and then you blink and your oldest son, who used to be so full of challenge, is 11 1/2 years old! What? And my Ella is 9 1/2? Huh? My baby Rohan is 6 1/2? How did that happen?
They were right. It really does go fast.
And so, I hold my Brynja a little closer. I ache when I put her down to bed. And most of all I cry for my other babies, Mac, Ella and Rohan. I look at theses big kids and wish so hard that I could hold them as infants just one more time. I cry for that time that is gone from me. If I found a magic lamp today, I'd rub it and wish for one day with each of my kids when they were small.
And so with Brynja, my last baby, I hold her tighter knowing that time will slip through my fingers anyway, but at least I know it this time. I don't think the knowing makes it any easier, just more poignant.