I sat in the middle of my girls' playroom last night, picking up the never-ending toys scattered around the room. My husband was making dinner (oh thank you, wonderful husband for taking over this task, and being so incredible at it to boot), and the girls were in the living room; one sitting in her kid-sized rocker watching t.v., and the other digging through an Easter basket of little toys. I happened to look up from organizing the toys back in their appropriate bins, and catch sight of my two young daughters. My two young daughters who happened to look too old to me at that moment.
I remembered taking in those last few moments of Katie being an only child. I remember her blonde hair pulled to the side with a barrette, as she sucked on her sippy cup. I remember wondering how it would all be different tomorrow, with the addition of a new child to our family. This was the before. What was the after going to be like? How would it change us, individually and as a family? I had difficulty visualizing it all.
And then, coming back to the present moment, right here before me are my two, beautiful and amazing daughters, growing up right before my eyes and far too quickly. My youngest, Leia, looked more like a little girl, and less of a baby in that moment. I was suddenly shocked to realize that she is the same age now as Katie was when Leia was born. How could this be? It seemed like just yesterday that I held this little girl in my arms for the first time. When I introduced Katie to her little sister for the first time. When our world became entirely different, new, changed. And then I looked at Katie, my first-born, who would be entering pre-school, yes pre-school, in the fall. And again I had to wonder, where did the time go?
Our lives are comprised of so many befores and afters. It's so interesting to see where this journey of life leads each of us along the way. Sometimes we are stuck in the middle of an after, and we so badly want things to be like they were before. It's not until we're truly waist-deep in the afters that we realize why that before had to happen, almost like a little push to help us along this journey, to lead us to where we're supposed to be, right now, today.
This after? I wouldn't change it for the world. It's hard to think about
what life was like before little Leia came into it. When we were just a
family of three, instead of four. It's even harder to remember what
life was like before Katie.
I love this after.
It wasn't long before Katie looked in my direction, as I sat in the middle of the playroom, surrounded by play food, Barbies, Squinkies, Princesses, foam swords, and goodness knows what else. She caught my eye, and I was quickly snapped out of thought. In a moment, she quietly walked over to me and asked me why I was looking at her and her sister? And why did I look so sad?
I told her because I was remembering when they were little, and how they were growing up too fast, and how I just wanted them to stay my little girls.
Sometimes we find an after that is just so beautiful and incredible that we want nothing more then to dig our finger nails into it, and hold onto it as tightly as we can.