The other day Joel and I went to the markets. The devil had packed up and left his temporary residence under Ella’s skin, so we decided to bring her along as well.
When we got there, we ordered some coffees. (Well, I’m on decaf and Joel’s on Chai; we’ve recently decided that it’s a good thing if our relationship is less caffeine-fueled). Anyway, we were sitting down, enjoying the atmosphere and enjoying these rare family outings when we were interrupted by a couple gushing over Ella. Usually I find the baby-gushings of strangers a little awkward and annoying but today I could forgive these strangers because I have to say, Ella is growing up to be PARTICULARLY cute and I would have probably gushed as well had she not been mine. (Am I allowed to say that?)
Anyway, they ended the conversation by saying “Enjoy this phase. They’ll grow up before you know it.”
It hasn’t been the first time I’ve been given this advice. In fact, most people tell me this and I simultaneously love and hate hearing it. I hate it because firstly, Mr Stranger, stop with the pressure. And secondly, why is it so bad when they grow up? Isn’t every stage of it lovely? Even when they are all big and leave home – isn’t it lovely to see and be proud of the people they’ve become, the choices they’ve made, the people they’ve decided to love?
On the other hand, I love hearing it because it reminds me to try harder to live in the moment. It reminds me to soak it all up, the good and the bad, because neither will last forever.
So today, I found myself in A Moment with her. We were lying together, Ella and I. She was looking at me and I was absorbing the stare of her striking blue eyes, soaking up the sunshine of her face, completely overcome with a love that I could never put into words. I was intoxicated by her smell, by her gaze, by her smile and I found myself thinking this:
Dear Moment, please don’t go. I know this is what they are talking about, those people. This is what they are telling me to cherish. So please, Moment, please don’t leave me. Let me lie here for a little longer. Let me hold you a little harder before you slip away to the next thing and the next. Because I just love her. And I’m so overpowered with what happens between the space where I end and she begins that I want you to linger here, just a little more, so I can imprint you onto the deepest part of my heart. So I will never forget you. So I can hold you delicately in my mind when I am old and breaking down and remember the greatest love I have ever known. All wrapped up in this tiny, little moment. This tiny, little moment where we are simply lying with one another and smiling.
The Moment tried hard to listen. He stayed for as long as he could but Time started calling like a mum rounds her kids in at night for dinner. He had to go. And just like that, he vanished.
But he stayed long enough to be imprinted to memory, so much so that I know I will be just like that couple at the markets. I will be sitting there with my children all grown up, telling a complete stranger the same: Cherish this time because by God, they grow up so fast.