This morning, my one-and-a-half-year-old woke up too early, crying out for mama. Hoping to get another half-hour of shut-eye, my husband picked her up and brought her into our bed, with her blanket and her toy lamb and her soother. I cuddled her and stroked her hair, and then I slipped away to take a shower and get my day going. When I came back, there they were: my husband and my little baby, both fast asleep. But what struck me was how much space she takes up in our bed now—compared to those first couple of months when she was just this little doll, sleeping peacefully curled up on my chest. She'll be two years old this summer. Where did the time go?
The other day, I went over to my dad's house to look for some trivial thing that I thought my mom might have owned. I searched through the closet in the main bedroom, which, more than two years after her death, is still full of her stuff. I ended up taking a few things—shoes, boots, some bangles, a bag—and it felt strange. A final affirmation that she is, in fact, never coming back for them. But I know she's not coming back, and it's been two years. It's time.
The thing is, life continues with or without you. There's no point in resisting or trying to turn the tide; change is inevitable.
And nothing drives that point home more than kids do. As my girls grow up, each new stage has its joys and its challenges. Sometimes I want to hurry it up and move on; sometimes I want to savour it. But I'll know I'll never get to experience that particular stage in that same way, ever again.
My life has changed a lot in the past few years, and it's not exactly how I pictured it. But all in all, it's a good life. I can dwell in the past—or on what might have been—or I can be here for what is.
So I'll wear the brown boots that used to be my mom's, which are mine now. I'll teach my preschooler how to write her letters in preparation for junior kindergarten this fall. I'll read bedtime stories to my toddler as she listens and learns more new words every day. I choose to be present. I choose to move on.