Tonight, like every night, I checked on my baby one more time before I went to bed. I then walked to my room and noticed the picture of her on my bedside table. The picture of her on my bedside is of a baby.
My baby can count to twenty. She knows every word to every Frozen song. She loves riding her Minnie Mouse scooter. My baby can hold full, reasoned conversations and has very strong opinions on all things from tonight’s dinner to who her best friend is.
Every night for three and a half years, I have watched my baby sleep. I have reviewed our day and studied her features. And slowly, but suddenly – steadily, but all at once, she is no longer a baby.
There is a stark contrast between the baby that I just checked on and the baby staring back at me from that framed photo. Her hands no longer appear to belong to a baby. They were dimpled and padded and always a little wet. They had rolls and they were stubby. And now they aren’t. Her face no longer belongs to a baby. While she will have life-long chubby cheeks thanks to my own genetics, the rest of her face has become trim. When she smiles, it is a practiced, comfortable smile full of teeth. Her eyes, which have always been wide, are now full of curiosity and eagerness. Her cooing turned to babbling turned to rational questions about the solar system and metamorphic rocks. Her uncoordinated toddles have turned to graceful runs and jumps. Where has my baby gone?
And I know that it doesn’t stop here. I know that my baby will keep on growing, and learning, and blowing me away. And I know that her growing will keep breaking my heart in the best way.
So tomorrow, like every night, when I check on my baby one more time before I go to bed, I’ll try a little harder to memorize every single detail because I’m finally figuring out just how quickly my baby grows.