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These Arms of Mine

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine” just played on my Pandora station. That song floods my mind with memories of my first dance at my wedding reception. I thought about how young my husband and I were. How we had our whole lives in front of us, and mostly I thought about how much has changed in these past 15 years.

The biggest changes besides more gray hair, creakier knees, more wrinkles and other unsightly freckles that seem to pop up every time I venture outside, are our two girls. Raina is 10 already. Story will be 6 at the end of May.

I know it’s totally cliche to say it, but time really does go by in a blink. I remember when I first held my girls as newborn babies, but I don’t always remember if I was holding on thinking how impermanent that time would be and how quickly each stage would dissolve into the next. Was I sad as I cleared their drawers of 0-3 month clothing, then the 6-9 month clothing knowing they’d never be that little again? Did I realize that all of the sudden they were wearing 2T, 3T, 4T and then no T at all?

Blurry. That’s what it feels like looking back.

Last night when we were out to dinner at Duke’s in downtown Crystal Lake, we sat next to a young couple who took turns holding their newborn girl while they smiled at each other and tried to enjoy their meal. They were hip and looked deliciously happy doting on their little baby in her hot pink Nike running shoes. The mom had an Organic Moby Wrap around her, and seemed completely relaxed as her husband gently bounced their baby girl. Raina and Story couldn’t keep their eyes off of the tiny little pink baby. “Mommy, look at how tiny she is! Look at her cute little shoes.” As the brand new mom and dad took turns walking their baby around the restaurant (both inside and outside), I thought about all those dinners out when Eric and I would play pass the baby, or one of us would walk Story outside while the other paid the bill and let Raina finish her meal.

As we waited too long to get our food, Story started to get squirmy and climbed on my lap. Both Eric and I instantly reacted, “Honey, you’re too big to sit on Mommy’s lap in a restaurant.” She instantly tried to get down with a hurt look on her face, but missed her chair and fell on the floor. I could see the tears forming even though she was trying to choke them back. I grabbed her quickly and held her to me. I realized in that moment that whenever I can, I should embrace the fact that Story still wants to sit on my lap and never deny her of that simple pleasure. I whispered into her hair, “Story, you will always be my baby, and anytime you need to sit on Mommy’s lap for comfort, I’m here.” I held her that way and was sad when she scrambled quickly to her chair when our food arrived 5 minutes later.

Although Raina still tries to climb on my lap as I read the paper and have my morning coffee while she is still warm and gooey from sleep, she hardly fits anymore. She’s short for her age, but she needs to tuck her limbs under her and hold on tightly to stay put. I love the quiet moments when the girls want to climb into my arms and hold on to me. I know now how impermanent these times are - from newly married, to newly formed family of three, to no more diaper bags, to a real dinner out when we can sit down as a family of four and enjoy conversation, to a meal without rushing to pay the bill or worrying about who we are disturbing while our fussy toddler throws her crayons and butter noodles on the ground.

We’ve reached a new stage where Raina no longer believes in the Easter Bunny or the tooth fairy, but she doesn’t want to let us know that she knows the truth about Santa. She’s at the age where her Mommy and Daddy are still fun to be around, and she doesn’t roll her eyes every time we talk, where boys are becoming a little less gross and way more intriguing, where she loves Taylor Swift’s 1989 album way more than The Free to Be You and Me cd. And Story no longer terrorizes us with tantrums, but she cracks us up with her questions about the world and her observations about life. This morning she told me that X means kiss and O means hug. As she explained that, she kissed and hugged me. Right after that, we had to practice doing sit ups like she learned in gym class. She’s a big girl carrying her huge Land’s End back pack as she walks to school, and picking out her own clothes in the morning. She can be in the backyard for hours without us worrying about her falling from the monkey bars or wandering outside of the fence.

We are no longer a brand new married couple, or a brand new family. Life is calmer, but not. It moves quickly, and then some days not. I just know that I need to hold on to my girls while they are girls, because soon enough we will be sitting at dinner and sharing a bottle of wine with them and their significant others talking about their world travels or adventures in college. Then because the blurry fingers of time will fast forward even further we’ll be watching each of our girls dancing for their first song on their wedding day. Eric and I will most likely shed tears, hold hands, and reminisce about our own first dance to Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine” and talk about how little our girls once were.
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Comment by warren

Joined: 6/22/2011
Posts: 293
That's not quite how I remember my kids growing up, at least not our colicky then where'd he go son. But we made it. I hope your memories stay sweet. Thanks for sharing them.
Posted: Sunday, April 19, 2015 9:37:50 PM
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