After a sleepless night or two, a single day can last an eternity. I check the clock when I feel I've been awake for hours to find it's 8:30 a.m. and I wonder how I'll get through the many hours till bedtime. I find myself wishing for time to pass more quickly on those kinds of days.
Then there are times when I want to dig my heels in to slow things down, the way I used to stop that old bike my sisters and I shared as kids, the one that had dodgy brakes. Heading down a hill, you'd have to gauge when to start dragging your toes so that you'd stop before you reaching the intersection. It was a risky procedure when I look back on it, but it always worked.
Somehow I can't seem to slow things down here the way I want. Jude keeps growing (almost 2 inches since January). Violet is now the quintessential six year old with a gap in her smile and a newfound lisp (she loves to say sassafrass and Mississippi). Margot has completely grown out of her toddler curves and is officially a four year old, getting taller and leaner each day. And Norah changes every single day, it seems. Now rolling over, sitting up on her own, reaching for our water glasses and food. Gnawing on whatever she gets her wet, chubby hands on, so that I expect to see a tooth one of these days.
In those rare moments when I'm sitting aside, watching my family twirl around me, I gaze at one and think, She will never be like this again. We may experience this stage again with her little sisters, but this is the only time that she'll wear braids with two missing teeth, the only time that her eyes will light up when she sees the Tooth Fairy didn't fail her.
Or I think, Next year, she'll be in school. This time of having her with me every day is coming to an end. She'll cry at the beginning, but will grow used to the change and will slowly grow away from me. Her life will be filled with new teachers and friends and stories that I don't have a part in.
Or Next year I won't be here with her anymore. I'll only see her at the end of each day and will try to fill up on her scent, the feel of her in my arms, and nurse her enough to tell her how much I love her and wish I could stay home to raise her till she's big enough to go to school.
I see the length of his feet, the size of his hands, and know that the time between now and when he's a towering teenager who's starting to shave and borrow the car will seem like a mere moment, even with all those endless days thrown in.
I whisper a prayer of gratitude that I had the time, perspective, and wisdom, even just for a moment, to watch and savor each of them as they are right now, because who knows who they'll be tomorrow? I remind myself that I'll like them just as much (if not more) tomorrow, with all the new changes that come.