Not long ago, Heather and I spent some quality time at the playground. Surprisingly, the experience turned out to be kind of a pensive one for me.
We had gone to the Gardener's Market, tasting this and that, listening to a spiel from the Winder Dairy guy (incidentally, I'd love to hear any experiences you may have had with Winder Farms/Dairy), and finally heading over to the playground, much to the joy of Her Little Highness.
She immediately headed for the slide, climbing over and up the winding path to get to the top.
(Incidentally, do any of the rest of you feel like slippery slides have changed significantly since the days of your childhood? Remember those slides where it was basically this big flat metal trough at the top of a really high ladder? I remember at City Park (a/k/a the "old" park, not to be confused with Canyon Park or the "new" park) there was the big slide and the little slide (kind of like the low dive and the high dive at the swimming pool). That big slide took some gumption, believe you me. Now though, it seems like the slides are at the top of a meandering journey through stairs and ramps and bars and what-have-you. Makes for a safer and probably more fun experience. However, it is also definitely more tricky to find the slide if you're a goal oriented kid, as our Heather is.)
Anyway, after getting her fill of the slide, Heather was roaming around, and I was watching from the sidelines. Still eagle-eyed of course, like any first-time mother on red alert for any random lurking kidnappers. About five minutes into this, I got thinking back to last spring/summer, how we had been at this very park after attending this very Gardner's Market, and what a different experience it had been then.
Heather was not yet two at that point, and her unsteady feet and unsteady confidence necessitated much closer supervision on my part. I remember waiting within arms reach as she climbed and trotted from place to place, sometimes venturing to the slide, sometimes chickening out. She'd find a bigger kid and follow him or her around, but as soon as they they tried something out of her comfort zone (which only took a minute or two), Heather would be darting those eyes around, hunting for and quickly finding the safety of mom's arms.
Today though, it was a whole different deal. That girl practically strutted across the playground. Picking up a stick (which she later informed me was her microphone), she marched around, singing, laughing (making odd facial expressions obviously), and generally playing.
I watched it all, and felt absolute pride (as any mother would, right?) in the beautiful normalcy of my little girl.
But then, almost out of nowhere I felt sad. Sad that my little baby was gone, that the toddler that had followed the baby was gone, and that probably before I could blink two or three times, a kindergartner would chase away this preschooler that I was raising, and the next time I blinked, I'd be in some version of the power wagon, pleading with the muffin to stay out of the borrow pit.
So I took a minute to mourn the passing of time, and to wish that it could go just a little more slowly, allowing me to treasure this time, this age, and these moments for just a little while longer.
And then, after resolving to enjoy the moments more, and begrudge the crumbs and messes (and we're potty training, so there are a lot of messes at the moment) less, I decided that there was no time to start like the present.
After all, childhood is way too short to spend much time mourning the shortness of it all, you know?