“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by every moment that takes your breath away.” – Anonymous
I look around this house and think about how this is the house that Summer is going to grow up in…is growing up in. With afternoons of hide and seek and bloody murder, she’s going to know the yard, our yard, better than Scott and I ever will. I think about how my sisters and I used to play hide and seek in our basement and shove our tiny selves into spaces you wouldn’t think possible…inside the hollow wooden square shelves that you wouldn’t know were there, so unfair to the neighbor trying to find us who didn’t realize you could squeeze inside just out of sight covered with boxes of Christmas decorations and old toys sitting on top, or in the gravel crawlspace covered in cobwebs under the family room, and yes, even in the dryer…and I know that that basement was my own, something so different for me than it was for my parents – it was my playground, the only basement I had ever explored unlike them, much like myself now, who had lived in other places before and had gotten to know other spaces and basements. Though I, I could run up the stairs, I owned those stairs, taking 2 at a time without thinking, I could fly down them like a breeze howling through an open screen, that house was a part of me, and I love that Summer will do the same here. These hardwood floors…as much as I cover them under her with blankets for now, when she starts crawling, walking, then running, there will be falls and bruises and we’ll be able to say, “remember when you fell over there…” or “that mark on the wall is where you…” This house in a year is already full of memories and I can’t wait to make a lifetime more of them.
Oh yeah, I’m doing my part.
Today I’ve been trying to get her to say “la la la la la” and I watched her as she watched me, studying, moving her tongue but not making much of a sound, that shy little face thinking she can probably do it but wanting to be sure before she even tries. Someday soon, she’ll be singing la la la to me and I’m gonna drink it in like water.
I’m making memories and tucking them away in the corners of my heart…
I want her to have a tree swing. And a kiddie pool that’s way too cold ’cause momma just filled it with the hose water again. And a slip n’ slide that’ll kill a huge strip of grass but will be worth every slide and spill and wind-knocked-outta-ya run we’ll have. Someday she’ll be able to tell me that this tree is good for climbing and that bush is good for hiding but this shrub is full of spiders and if you really wanna have a quiet moment, you should go sit on the side porch step where no one will look for you.
So many more memories a comin’….
I’m so excited for what the years will bring this little person I made. A lifetime of memories is yet to come and while I can provide the means and the outline and the facilities, those memories are hers to make and I’ll never know what she will hold close to her heart like I do mine…years and years to fill mental scrapbooks of making mud soup with leaves and sticks, and making ice bucket igloos with her dad in the snow, and throwing sticks down the sewer waiting for the ‘kerplunck!’, and roller skating in circles in the basement, and sneaking out with her high school boyfriend to the lake, and smoking her first cigarette behind the shed, and figuring out which stairs creak and which ones don’t when she walks past our bedroom door and heads downstairs ’cause she can’t sleep.
She and I both will forever be banking the memories in the vault, always making more and loving the ones we already have…
I’ve said it before, but this is the house that Summer built. And the memories that will be made will make the phrase, “if these walls could talk…”, a phrase that will be bursting from every corner of this house, wishing to spill onto the next person that will listen, though meaning the most to the baby that will hold those memories the closest to her heart. And while she’s making memories, I’m busy making my own…tonight we cuddled on the couch where I pulled the ottoman into the corner making a huge square of couchy heaven, where I laid every last blanket I could find onto our corner of coziness… I’m busy storing moments like these away for a rainy day when she’s away at college and I’m missing her like crazy, or when she’s off on her honeymoon and I know she’s devoted to someone else.
I know she’s only 3 months old. Yet I strangely find myself trying to balance the sadness of my little one eventually growing up, becoming independent down the road, not needing me as she does now, with the knowledge that I need her near me now like I’ve never needed to be with anyone before, relishing in every moment I have with her, her clinging to me when she’s sad or tired or hungry or snuggly, soaking up every smile and giggle like a dry sponge wanting to be drenched in baby goodness. Cheesy? Maybe. Fuel for my soul? You betcha.
I go back to work on Monday and I can’t believe I’m leaving this piece of my heart with others to sit in front of a computer. While I am so grateful that I have a job that I enjoy to go back to with people I like to be around, and family that is happy to watch her for us, I am so deeply sad beyond words to miss all the moments I will miss. The smiles that others will get to experience that I won’t, the stories she will tell in her own little breathy baby language that I swear I understand, the sighs and eye rubs right before she falls asleep…I’m sad. It hurts my heart. So for now, I’m absorbing every memory I can make with her, all the moments that take my breath away, banking each one in my memory to pull out come Monday when I need them the most.
Memories, baby, I’ll take you with me wherever I go, and you’ll keep taking my breath away.