Growing Pains

You grew today.

I missed it.

You left this morning, and when you returned to me this evening, you were different.  Your mannerisms, your speech, forever changed.  Evolved.

Your time away filled your mind with fresh experiences, your ears with new expressions, and your heart with countless first loves.  What you were this morning is only a memory now.

This happens every now and then, and each time I’m caught off guard.  It’s no secret that you’re growing rapidly.  Changing from baby to toddler to little girl.  I can tell that you are taller now than when the summer began.  But still, occasionally, all this change happens in the span of one day.  I catch a glimpse of my grown-up-little-girl and my footsteps stagger; my breath is cut short.

I wonder if I will remember each stage; if I have enough photos to recount the moments.  I already know the answers: I can’t and I don’t.

Sometimes I think I should take more pictures, sometimes I think I should take none.

It is a day like today that becomes an encouragement for me.  Everything can change in an instant.  Often all the change only takes an instant. You come home and everything is different. Being present everyday is the only cure for this sometimes brutal truth.

Yet even when I prepare for this battle of the heart, consciously savoring every sound and smell, dressing myself in morning cuddles, focusing carefully on individual details…I still am perpetually conquered by my emotions.

But, I know that my feeling of defeat signals this: I am doing something right.

My daughter’s youth may be slipping past me, and memories are sure to be rapidly fading away from my mind, but the pain that comes from those realizations shows me that I’m loving thoroughly.  Enjoying fully.  Caring immeasurably.  Treasuring endlessly.

And living, completely.

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