Little girl. I remember when you first started walking; tiny little stick legs straight and stiff like a Russian soldier, itty bitty pot-belly puffed out under your tunic. Stubborn, strong, determined: that’s my girl. How is it you can run so fast now? How is it you can speak so well, stringing together oh-so-many syllables and quoting your favorite movie word for word with perfect inflection? How is it I long for each milestone but my heart aches at the very thought of you growing up.
Little boy. I remember those round, cherubic cheeks and Finnish lips squished against me as you slept in my arms, my little newly born man. Sweet, easy-going, curious; that’s my boy. How is it that you have grown so tall? How is it you can throw and kick and jump and play with the big boys? How is it that I admire your independence but dread the day you no longer need mommy cuddles?
You will never discover a puddle or a tide pool or snow or an autumn leaf for the first time again. I will have to hold those memories of each of your firsts as the rarest gift. I will watch as you discover new things, but as you grow, you will lose the amazement of an entire world that’s new to you. You will lose the need for mommy and daddy to be at your side to experience all of your firsts with you. And my heart will break.
Little girl, little boy, don’t outgrow mama too quickly. Know that mommy and daddy’s hearts grow and fill with love for you each day. Each day, our hearts expand like a big, red, infinite balloon that can never, ever pop. Yes, bloom and grow and take your steps toward independence. But take your time and don’t rush your childhood. You will miss it when it’s gone. Mommy and Daddy will miss it when it’s gone.