They tell me to remember this. That it goes by too fast. To enjoy it while it lasts because it will be over all too soon.
Your chubby hands grab my necklace, my hair, my nose and you are suddenly fascinated with my ear. Tugging and pulling you don't understand why it won't be pulled straight to your mouth - but that's okay, because your mouth can certainly come to my ear. I laugh and snuggle you close, and smell your sweet baby skin.
I close my eyes and tell myself to do what they tell me, to remember. To remember the way that your eyes study my face and how you smile at me every. single. time. I smile at you. To remember the way your chubby legs proudly pump on my lap and how your feet fit perfectly in your mouth on the changing table. To remember how you look falling asleep in the carseat - desperate to keep your eyes open - you smile at me while your lids open and close, over and over again. Fighting and fighting your needs versus your wants until the needs win out, and away you go, immediately entering in dreamland.
To remember the way your belly hangs low in your swimsuit, or the way it looks like it might pop after a good feeding. To remember how you love your water bottle, grabbing it with hands that don't quite do what you want, but you're determined so you make it work, even if that means folding in half and touching your toes while you drink. (And remembering how amazing your hamstrings are!) To remember your incredible morphing hair, how it changed from a dark brown crew cut, to a brown faux-hawk, to a blonde fuzzy mess that makes you look like you just got off a boat going 80 mph every morning.
I do what they tell me to do and try to freeze time. To not just look at you, but to see you - really see you. You are my first baby - you have all of me and I have all of you. We have the time. I must remember this. I must remember something, anything - everything.
Sometimes it's hard to remember to remember. I have to be intentional or I'll forget. The days pass and you change and I don't even realize it. Then there are the mornings I walk into your nursery, bend to pick you up and I must take a second look. You are different. You are older. You have changed and I have realized it.
I both love it and hate it. I love it because that's what you're supposed to do - it is good and wonderful that you have changed and I am a proud momma because you are healthy and strong and growing - all things mommas wish for their babies. But I hate it because I remember that I forgot to remember sometimes and what if I have missed something? You will never go back to being that tiny, drowsy, little newborn, the cooing and gurgling three-month old, or the bouncing and bobbing six-month old. What if there is something I forgot to remember?
But I tell myself not to dwell in the past. You are here in front of me now, the new things are becoming the old things before my very eyes and I must remember to remember the here and now. The present with you is what I have and I must soak up every minute - because that is how I will remember.
They tell me to remember this. That it goes by all too fast. And they are right. So I must not forget to remember to remember.