Our spunky girl turned 5 this week! I will admit that my heart is heavy with growing pains. The last 5 years have gone too fast. I can't even remember many of the days. They have faded away like vapor. Like clouds floating through the sky they have floated on far away and I am left with memories. But if I am really honest, the memories are fleeting too. In the midst of the days I thought I would always remember. That it would be impossible for me to forget all the funny things she said or the all the things she did. I thought I would have those moments forever but they do fade. And I am left with some sadness that she will never do or say those things again.
I am reminded of the book by Karen Kingsbury, Let Me Hold You Longer. In my opinion, every mother should be given this book upon their child's birth, because in the midst of all the tough early days with your new child you don't realize that very soon all the things you have come to know will have a last time. We have already hit many of those lasts with our girl and that tears me up inside, because she is growing up and will move away sooner than I could hope for. Tonight when I tucked her in she said she wanted to still live with me even when she was grown up and married. I told her that I would love that and that she absolutely could.
And I meant it. In fact, that very thought makes me happy. Because then, she wouldn't ever really leave and I could hold her longer.
I'll end with a small piece from Karen's book and an answer to her question.
Long ago you came to me; a miracle of firsts; First smiles and teeth and baby steps, a sunbeam on the burst. But one day you will move away and leave to me your past, And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts . . . .
The last time that I held a bottle to your baby lips. The last time that I lifted you and held you on my hip.
The last night when you woke up crying, needing to be walked, When last you crawled up with your blanket, wanting to be rocked. The last time when you ran to me, still small enough to hold. The last time that you said you'd marry me when you grew old.
Precious, simple moments and bright flashes from your past --- Would I have held you longer if I'd known they were your last?
YES. I would have held her longer. tighter. stronger. Let me hold on longer, God, to every precious last.