Sometimes I get advice from well-meaning empty nesters telling me that someday I'll miss these days of chasing my toddler down the hallway at church. In these encounters I muster a fake smile and say, "Yeah, I'm sure I will." But really I know that I won't miss every single part of my children's childhoods. And that's okay. What I do know, however, is that the years really are short. That particular piece of parenting philosophy rings bittersweet truth.
I took this picture yesterday, and it struck a chord in my heart. I don't know what it is about this image exactly, but I think this is one to keep forever. Is it his stance, his hair, his perfectly sized tennis shoes? This photo captures such a person.
Why, it was only a year ago that Asher slept with his blanket over his head and would correct it were Josh and I ever to interfere. It was only a year ago that Asher had no teeth, could barely sit up, and took three naps a day. I may have plenty of frustratingly long days, but boy, are the years so short. And that realization snaps my perspective back to a place of sweetness bordering on melancholy.
Tomorrow marks one year since my cousin's daughter, Ayla, passed. So while Asher may be inexplicably clingy with rationale beyond my understanding, today I smile at the arms wrapped possessively around my neck, the toothy grins of recognition, the infectious giggles, and even the meltdowns on the kitchen floor. Because these long days pass, and someday we won't be the keepers of their childhoods anymore, but the guardians over our own experiences within their childhoods. When Ayla died, I thought I should feel guilty for being so happy with my own son. But it didn't take long for me to see that the best way to remember Ayla and love her mother, Julie, is to live and enjoy and love.
So today I resolve to infuse more love into my long days, so that the short years don't rob me of the small perfect imperfections that grace this beautiful life.