Parenting

Always My Baby You’ll Be

I sat on the couch watching a show on Netflix with my husband. My 8-year-old daughter had shown an interest in the series since we started it, and she currently sat beside me on the sofa watching along. This was a new development and I kept looking her way, stealing glances, as the laughter of her younger sisters carried from their room. Wasn’t it just last week she would have been in there with them, too short of an attention span to keep up with something other than a Pixar cartoon?

As I looked upon her I couldn’t help but notice her hair was growing out. She had requested a more grown-up cut about six months prior, and it was starting to flip up on the ends in an adorable fashion. New growth at her hairline added to the look, and for about the fifth time that evening I thought to myself, “she is stunning.”

She was at that odd age of childhood. Too old to be a little kid, too young to be grown. Her face still held some baby fat, yet I could see the elongation of her neck, and the foreshadowing of the young woman she would become. Sometimes when I thought of her as a lady it caught me off guard. I wasn’t ready to see that part of life. Not yet.

As if reading my mind, her attention left the TV screen and her eyes met mine. “I’ll always be your baby,” she said with a shy smile. Then she giggled.

The night before she had jumped into my lap after I got home from work. She was already just a little over a head-length below my full-grown height. We both knew she’d catch up soon. She was all legs and arms, but as she curled into my lap I gathered her limbs, patted her bottom, and squeezed her up against me.

Always my baby you’ll be.

She asked questions now. She had always asked questions. All children do. But now her questions were more than “why is the sky blue” or “are we there yet.” They were thought-provoking, big girl questions. The kind of questions that surprised me yet made me proud all at the same time. They were the kinds of questions that took you off guard with something so well-thought and mature spoken, yet also made you smile with thoughts like, “I made that brilliant, little creature.”

Sometimes when she spoke something especially bright and witty I would almost want to cry. The same baby that used to soil all her onesies with spit-up and diaper blowouts was now capable of inquisitive and tantalizing conversation. Well, sort of. She was still goofy enough to keep us both grounded.

In other words, she was big enough to make a lump form in my throat, but still small enough that I could talk myself off the ledge of maternal breakdown.

Always my baby you’ll be.

When she had spoken my thoughts and giggled so sweetly, her gap-toothed smile charming me completely, I had suddenly thought of my mother for some reason. I thought of me sitting in her lap at 20 years old, crying into her red hair, pouring my heartbreak into her understanding ear after a terrible breakup with a boy I loved. I had never thought for even a moment that my grown woman body was too big for her lap. Instead, in my angst, I had simply fallen comfortably into the place that felt best, and where I needed to be to find comfort.

And I missed her then. My Mommy. This adult woman missed her Momma’s lap.

Always my baby you’ll be.

I suppose that’s why God granted me the gift of motherhood within the year after my mother’s passing. So I could take comfort in holding my own baby girl in my lap, to soften the blow of no longer being the baby myself.

I glanced over to my right. My 8-year-old looked radiant beside me. So grown, yet still so little. Beautiful, cute. Big, little. Inquisitive, innocent. Bold, dependent. Always my baby, no matter what. She had just turned eight, and if you thought about things in a five-year-plan sorta way then she would be a teenager in just a short, half-decade timeframe. It seemed only yesterday that we were hanging Noah’s Ark wall border in her nursery, and I would take frequent breaks in the floor because my belly ached with the weight of her pulling on my abdominal muscles. Now, though, I had to catch my breath from the weight it tugged on my heart to think of how fast that baby had grown. Too fast. Long days, short years. No saying had ever proven [truer].

I stole one more quick glance at my growing girl. She smiled back slyly, and we both grinned.

Always my baby you’ll be.

Always.

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Brie Gowen
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Brie Gowen is a 30-something (sliding ever closer to 40-something) wife and mother. When she’s not loving on her hubby, chasing after the toddler or playing princess with her four-year-old, she enjoys cooking, reading and writing down her thoughts to share with others. Brie is also a huge lover of Jesus. She finds immense joy in the peace a relationship with her Savior provides, and she might just tell you about it sometime. She’d love for you to check out her blog at BrieGowen.com.

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