The sun beats down on you for the first time when we emerge from the birthing center. Your eyes are closed and your skin smells new and you’re so tiny that the world at once feels giant and welcoming.
Leaves change colors and so does your hair, growing in tune to your increasingly chunky body that snuggles into my shoulder as I take you with me everywhere – from backyard to refrigerator to stove. I master the one-handed egg crack and you master perfect slumber on the hip of a new mother; habitually swaying a tiny body back and forth, back and forth, like an autumn leaf drifting peacefully to the soft ground.
The world gets smaller when winter storms rage, and we create a universe in our two-bedroom upstairs apartment where exist warm baths and fuzzy pajamas and a big laugh from a tiny belly, rich as hot chocolate and deep as the snow.
Today you revel in the feel of damp grass beneath your still-tiny toes and fresh fruit on your jabbering tongue. Soon the sun will beat down again on a person who is no longer so new; whose eyes are wide open, whose knees are carpet burned, who far prefers dancing to snuggling, but whose cheeks remain as pink and delicious as strawberry cotton candy.
It goes like this. I race to keep up with the swiftly-moving seasons, which play like a movie that I am powerless to pause except in snippets of memory and two-dimensional Facebook albums. So I’ll revel, captivated, in each day and week and month. I’ll store up each fleeting laugh and cry and slobberkiss in my pounding, infatuated heart.
And I hope that once in a while you’ll still want to snuggle – even when wrinkles frame my face like the thousand winding pathways that lie ahead, and these seasons turn my hair into swirling winter snow.