The other day a realisation hit me that quite literally took my breath away. I was thinking about Amy and realised that she was already well on her way to turning three. For some reason the very thought of my little girl being almost three surprised me and left me with a hollow, sad feeling in my gut.
The signs have been there over the past few months, signs of her growing up as the minutes tick by. Since she started school this year she has grown in leaps and bounds, and while it’s been a joy to see her language develop, her confidence grow, and her happiness overflow as she engages in new life experiences, it also leaves a tinge of sadness to see my little girl disappearing.
The clues are subtle, but as her mother they are not lost on me. Her not needing me to hold her hand down the stairs anymore (she used to say “hold my hand mom, Amy fall and bump head”) , her not wanting Dad to carry her to her bedroom after her bath (now it’s “I want to walk myself”), not requesting piggy back rides to the bathroom when it’s time to brush teeth (no more cries of “faster, faster!”), and just generally not needing, or wanting, help with many day to day activities now (“Amy do it! I want to do it”).
And of course this brings us back to the bedtime routine. It’s the end of a long day, I’m tired while she is still filled with excitement and energy. We chat about her day, her friends from school, how she wants to visit the animals at the game reserve. Her eyes are still wide and alert, even though she’s yawning. My back aches, and yet more than that my heart aches for the coming months when she won’t want or need me to sit by her as she falls asleep.
I climb into bed next to her, snuggle up under the duvet, tuck her in close. I stroke her soft hair as she reaches out to put her hand in mine. Treasured moments with this precious child of mine. As her breathing slows and she drifts to dreamland where I promise to see her later, I wish I could stop the clock and freeze this moment in time, keep her exactly this way for always. But because time is a cruel thing and waits for no man, I give her a tight squeeze and breathe in her sweet breath while kissing her sweet, soft forehead.
The clock is ticking, don’t let it surprise you with how fast it all goes.