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“Cherish These Years”

Ahhhh, so peaceful up here.

I spent part of the morning re-reading a book I like, and enjoying a cup of coffee up on the deck. It’s nice up there there for a lot of reasons, but a good one is that’s where the garden’s at, and Ellie can entertain herself with plucking cherry tomatoes off the vine and eating them until she’s full. So I don’t have to prepare a snack, which satisfies my lazy efficient disposition.

Whenever I’m reading a book (or doing anything that requires an amount of focus), Ellie becomes an urgent snuggler. Like, a “put-down-whatever’s-in-your-hand-and-hold-me-this-instant” kind of snuggler. (Also, a gaze-into-my-eyes-otherwise-you’re-not-paying-100%-attention-to-me kind of snuggler.) And, to tell you the truth, most days I get a little annoyed by this. (“Where’s all this snuggle-love when I want it?” I ask myself.) But today was different. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s 70 degrees in late October, or the fact that the tomatoes are perfectly ripe and delicious, or the fact that the breeze is just breezy enough, but today I didn’t get annoyed.

Today, each time Elle interrupted my reading–26 times in 16 pages, but who’s counting?–I was patient. She’d wiggle underneath my book, while saying “pick you up, please” (she doesn’t get the difference between the words “me” and “you” yet), and I happily scooped her up 26 out of 26 times. Then she’d put both of her hands on my cheeks, turn my head towards hers, and hold my face about an inch away from hers, and just smile. The picture that kept appearing in my mind’s eye was of an Ellie in her mid-20s, and how bizarre it would be if she held my face so close to hers at that age, and how it’ll never even occur to her to want to sit in my lap. So, take it while you can get it. That’s what I say. Grimy tomato-hands and all.

A rare snuggle, caught with my iPhone

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I keep forgetting, and then re-remembering, that all of this is so temporary. Ellie’s time of blissful, self-unawareness is only going to last so long, and then it will be all “could you drop me off a couple of blocks away from school, mom?”

Sometimes I lose sight of the preciousness of these few years, and I find myself feeling envious of my friends with older, less dependent children. The way they have time to go to cross-fit, work on their forthcoming books, and go pee by themselves. But then, on days like today, I remember. My perspective has shifted back into place, and I remember that every parent I’ve ever met has told me to “cherish these years.” And I aim to say I did just that, even if it means never reading more than 16 pages at a time, and having dirty tomato gunk smushed all over my face.

How about you guys? Do any of you have older children? Do you have any words of wisdom for me?

“Smush bananas in mommy’s haaaaair!” says Ellie.

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Let’s be friends!

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