One Minute

I looked into your face today, my girl, and I saw your wisdom, your plans, and all your tricks and dreams. You are suddenly older, and I think I just saw it happen. For once, I saw it with my own eyes instead of through the eyes of people who don’t see you every day. “Oh, she’s getting so big!” they say, or “You were just a baby the last time I saw you.” Today, I was looking right into your face and I saw you grow up.

It was a little nothing of a moment. I met you outside your class when the school day ended, and you ran down the ramp to greet me. You smiled at me. You hugged me with all of your five-and-three-quarters-year old might. I looked into your face and I saw you age.

“Do we have time to play for a bit before my piano lesson, and get a snack? How about if we play for just one minute?” you asked. A minute is a long time now, when you age so quickly right before my eyes. You don’t know what you’re asking. You just want to swing on the monkey bars. “Yes, we have one minute,” I reply, “but only one.”

A moment ago you would not have asked me that question. You would have asked “Can we play?”, and when I told you that if we played too long we would not have time to get a snack before your piano lesson, you would have moped, stomped, scrunched up your face. But I saw you age in front of my eyes today. You gave me the plan, options considered, consequences weighed.

I keep looking into your face today, to try to catch you at it again. I know if I look hard enough, I’ll see it. I’ll remember it. You are growing up, little wisp.

Erin's First Six Months (Selection) 019

It was a little nothing of a moment. It was only a minute ago. You were just a baby the last time I saw you.

9 comments

1 karen { 01.30.13 at 6:06 AM }

Beautiful

2 Brittany @ The Scatterbrained Mama { 01.30.13 at 7:35 AM }

I’ve been following your blog for a while but this is my first comment, because, man, this post really hit me! What a moment that must have been, My son is younger than your little ones (nearly 11 months), but I’m feeling particularly sentimental about his rapidly approaching first birthday. The other day, I had to admit to myself that he’s looking more and more like a toddler, and less and less like an infant. I can’t imagine him as a five year old yet, but I’m sure it will be here in the blink of an eye.

3 Kim { 01.30.13 at 9:25 AM }

Yeah. Those moments — thrilling and wonderful and somehow they break your heart at the same time. Ours is 11 now and it’s happening so fast. It really makes you think about the person you are helping them learn to be.

4 Rachel { 02.05.13 at 7:13 PM }

Love this post, I feel the same way about my 16 year old. The Subaru commercial from a few years ago where the dad is talking to his pre-schooler about driving (and we find out at the end she is really high school or college age) is my life now.

5 Argelyn { 02.12.13 at 2:43 PM }

Thank you for finding the words to describe a feeling that is indescribable. I was a basket case of tears in the office after reading this because my little girl is turning 6 on valentine’s day. Awesome. Your post, I mean, because I’m the worst crier ever.

6 Backpacking Dad { 02.17.13 at 12:48 PM }

@Argelyn,

No, thank you!

7 Backpacking Dad { 02.17.13 at 12:49 PM }

@Rachel,

I’m going to avoid looking for that commercial on YouTube.

8 Backpacking Dad { 02.17.13 at 12:49 PM }

@Kim,

Mine aren’t allowed to get that old. They stay 5 and under.

9 Backpacking Dad { 02.17.13 at 12:50 PM }

@Brittany,

Go back to baby pictures when they’re 5. It’s appalling how old they get so fast.