While You Still Love Me
You are almost three. To me, you are still small. But when I look back at all those baby photos, I’m stunned at how fast time passes. You were so tiny, and beautiful, and perfect. I need to get better at appreciating you while you still love me.
Every week you are getting more vocal. I don’t pretend to take credit for that, considering you started going to daycare when I returned to work. Someone else had the luxury of seeing your face light up with new ideas, of watching your reactions when you tried new things. Someone else put in the time to teach you new words, and to listen to you repeat them, over and over, until you got them right. I won’t take credit for these things, and I’m okay with that.
I can’t believe you are almost three.
From week to week — sometimes from day to day — I see changes. You show better coordination, and you are able to execute tasks more successfully. You are becoming more independent. You are needing less and less of my presence, but when you want my attention you demand it: to acknowledge success, rather than to provide help. It gets annoying sometimes, especially when you talk over an adult conversation, but your screams of “Mommy, LOOK AT ME!” are like tacos to me. I will never tire of them.
So, I hug you. And you hug me back… Sometimes.
I say that I love you. I ask you to reciprocate, to build a habit of this loving connection. But mostly, I want to hear the words, “I love you mommy” from your perfect little mouth.
And I squeeze you one more time, because a hug and a word will never express the intensity of what I really feel for you. I could hold you for a thousand years and never fully voice that feeling.
Holy crap. You are almost three.
I am afraid. I’m afraid of you finding my love and my words embarrassing, sooner than I expect it. I don’t mean embarrassed in front of friends, I mean when it’s only you and me. I know it’s coming. I know it’s part of you growing up. And I know it will break my heart.
To be honest, I’m also afraid of me. Afraid of losing my patience and trust in you as you go through life and experience emotional changes. After all, you are expected to morph. I did it and it was hard. I’m afraid of losing the connection we share now. I’m afraid of missing your love.
These things, though, are visions in the distant future. For now, mi vida, you are almost three. So small, so beautiful, so perfect.
All I can do is continue to hug you, to squeeze you, to love you. I’m hoping that by preaching how much I love you and how often you need to say it back to me I am able to tattoo this onto your heart and engrave it onto your soul. Because one day you will cross that fine line where you realize it is time to stop being mama’s little girl. It will be time to grow, time to fly away and be yourself. Until then, you are mine to care for, to hold and to love, and you will teach me to be a better recipient. All while you still love me.