My daughter and I went shopping for my niece’s baby shower. We were so excited that she’s having a girl! We came across a kiosk in the mall that had an elaborate display of tutus and bows and all the splendor of girly dreams. We had arrived. And as we playfully dove into the land of good and plenty, all those memories came flooding back…
“Oh Cass, you wore this stuff ALL the time when you were little!! Oh and these butterfly wings!!! You LOVED them. And tutus…oh your tutus and boas and Oh LOOK at these sweet little flower barrettes!!! Oh Cass, you ALWAYS had something adorable on… every single day. Remember how you used to love to dress up?”
“Um not really. Well, kind of…” She says with a quizzical smile and nod.
“You were so adorable!!! You had the most creative way of putting outfits together, and I always let you wear whatever you wanted!! Oh I remember for months, all you wanted to wear were these big Barbie tutus and this awful big black witch hat!! Oh how people would stare!!”
“That’s funny!” She chuckles as I see her thoughts retracing her memory file and not finding that era.
Those long gone days of this sweet little toddler and young baby girl, dancing with tiaras and bows has faded away. She would play in tutus and mismatched outfits that only a rock star could create. Her adorable nature and expressive spirit caught everyone’s attention. I would go to the thrift store and by all kinds of costumes and dress up clothes for her, to add to the princess costumes gallore… we had a huge bin to choose from. She delighted in this phase for years.
It’s over now.
When did it end?
I can’t quite place the time or the day the bins disappeared and the dress up days withered away. It’s a blur of years gone by as slow whispers of change snuck in when I wasn’t looking.
This morning my soon-to-be ten-year-old came downstairs dressed in an outfit she adorned on her own, with her hair neatly combed and a matching headband. She looked beautiful and mature. My little girl grew up.
But I can’t recall when.
We celebrate all the milestones of our children’s lives and yet, I realize that all those cherished beginnings and endings aren’t in the spotlight at all. The precious moments of change melt into our days and go unnoticed, as we muddle through the various seasons of motherhood. It’s those realizations, that enlighten my heart to all those new beginnings and endings we passed along the way. The elaborate applause of those ‘big changes’ is truly special in their own right. But it’s the hidden treasures deep within those big moments that are often lost. Those beautiful nuggets of change that flow into another and into another…with no formal celebration…
Until we realize that season is gone. And a new one has begun.
Oh how I wish I could capture those tender transitions. I often don’t notice them until they have already transpired. The flow of the every day buries them and distracts my attention. But they happen right in front of me, as I scurry by with a glimpse and a nod.
So many pieces of growth lost in time. And yet, if we really pay attention, we can discover over and over again, how miraculously and naturally our children transform through each day.
I pray we can all embrace every hidden morsel that unveils those precious changes in the seamless path of parenting. I pray we can capture each turn around the bend of each stage, in hopes to never regret not noticing. We only get one chance to savor this journey.
Each season we will never live again.
Before having children, Chris Carter worked as a music therapist for several years in Chicago’s inpatient psychiatric hospitals. She also managed creative arts and recreation programming for four group homes. In that time of her life, she learned and grew to know the pain and suffering of so many people. She is now a stay-at-home mom and currently spends her days running kids to and from school four times a day, volunteering and keeping the house in some sort of order! She has a thriving blog, The Mom Cafe, where she regularly shares her mothering experience and wisdom.