For me, it's often the littlest of things that carry the most meaning. I find myself consumed with the emotions that the little things trigger within. This probably speaks to the simplicity of my nature or character, as a simple pleasures kinda gal.
I wonder how much time I spend a day just gazing at you, my children, watching your expressions, your mannerisms. Noting the way his little mouth moves when he is watching someone speaking dramatically, the way his eyes enlarge and withdraw as he responds to their inflection.
The way her chest arches significantly forward and her little muppet arms swing almost behind her when she runs with all her might, as if being pulled along by a string.
And the sleep, don't get me started on the sleep. I could sit and watch you for hours taking in your steady breath through slightly parted pillow lips and soft relaxed cheeks, and examine your iridescent eyelids that always seem to shine when you are sleeping. These little things are obvious and beautiful.
However, some little things get lost in the shuffle. I think it's natural. Some appear, on the surface, to be mundane. If you view them from too great a distance, or through the 'life's load' filter, when you're in the trenches, they may even appear to be a nuisance. As I move through my days and meet those particular little things I remind myself that I will miss them one day, too...soon - and so I seek to view them in another light. My babes, here are just a few of those little things...
The little 'worlds' she builds all around the house, in corners, in hallways, in nooks, under the tables. They are offices, fancy lady stores, and loving homes for babies. They are fully constructed in minutes and make use of half of the belongings we have in our home. Every need is considered. Everything. Is. Rearranged. Coincidentally, your arms and legs are always tired when it's time to clean up and I am left to sweep through the house after bedtime. Clutter they may create, these worlds provide me with a window into your little mind and I am able to absorb your creativity. One day the house will feel empty with only the grown-up belongings present and I'll miss having to shuffle around your little 'worlds'.
The lego museum that occupies the living room bookshelves. You have painstakingly placed each little figure amongst the fleet of 'ships' you've built, slowly crowding out each of the pretties I've tried to place there over the years. It often looks more like a day care than a living room, but for these years that is exactly what it should be. After all, they are works of art and any others that I may obtain pale in comparison.
Waking up in a tangled love sandwich, pressed between two warm, and sometimes sweaty, bodies like immobile bookends. I'm never quite certain when you snuck in, but I know the drowsy habitual motions that follow quite well. I'm nudged out of deep sleep, just to a half-conscious state, by a little's bedside wiggles. I sling my right arm back as an anchor for you to grab on to and you climb your way up. You clumsily trample over my body on your way to 'your spot'. Once you have situated your blankies and lovies just so, we slip into a dreamy spoon - or two - and I must admit, although it's not always the most comfortable, those nights are definitely the most comforting.
Finding an inconspicuous lego or matchbox car...with my foot...in the dark...on the way to rock you...after being pulled from my cozy nest in bed. Once I was able to contain the 'grrr' of the sting of my foot, I soaked up every minute with you resting on my chest. I forced myself to connect with your breathing and make note of how your body fit into my arms. There will be a time when you've graduated from those toys and the sight of them will make me misty. One day I may keep a little box of them under my bed, just to remember these days.
Smudges of glitter glue on the table. It's always there. It thrives there. The conditions seem to be perfect to sustain and breed the glue smudges. It goes quite well with the marker streaks. I may not own sophisticated pieces, but they exhibit loads of character. Some day I may clear coat over those marks to preserve the vision of you passionately creating art for the better part of each day.
"Hold me..." Little Lady says, when we are leaving school. We have warm, heavy coats on, I have a backpack, the share bag, and artwork from class in my hands, and you are no small peanut anymore, but I swing you up high with a hearty "wa-ooo!" and stack you on my hip anyway. Your gigantic smile and bright eyes erases my body's protest and warms me. "Hold me, Mama," Little Man says, nearly my height and weight now. We have established a system: assume horse stance - hands under little armpits. We do a count of three and after a deep lunge in unison, we vault you up to holding position. Your legs must chimp lock around me in order to help support your weight...but I NEVER deny you. Soon we will have to reverse rolls.
Little wads of toilet paper on the ground beside the toilet. For real, I will miss this someday. These little 'litterings' remind me of your tiny little body balancing on the bowl, the effort you put into packing that oversized wad of paper into a nice tight ball in your hands, and the independence you strive for in doing it all yourself. (You have the most random and delightful reflections to share with me in that spot as I listen from the edge of the tub.) All are hints suggesting you are growing up quickly - one less reason for me to feel 'needed'.
Random purse-bombers. Broken restaurant crayons, plastic Chotchkies, crumpled stickers, a super ball, a half-eaten crumbly snack, and a raisin...even if you have never once packed a raisin, you will find a raisin - most likely by sticking your finger right in it while fishing around for your wallet. I don't remember what a clean purse for one feels like, but I don't think I'm missing much.
The days of the zombie walks back and forth between bedrooms for mid-night feedings, or because someone had a bad dream and lost their lovie/nukie. I dreaded those walks many evenings, deeply craving a full night's sleep. Don't get me wrong, getting more sleep is great, but now that those moments are in the past, I miss them from time to time. The demands of those years may have been the greatest, but they were also so very rewarding.
Although these reflections leave me teary, I have grown to understand (or force myself to believe) that the beauty in this is that as those little things become memories, others will take their place. I hope to instill in you a habit of viewing the little things in their bigness and beauty. Don't overlook them in your search for something grander.