Since the kids were babies, my husband and I always made it a point to hold them during the actual worship. As they grew, they became very accustomed to immediately lying their head on our shoulders and nestling into the crook of our necks. From birth to their current ages, five and six, we have held them and embraced these precious moments of the church service.
My daughter always runs to me to hold her first. A song ends, and then we switch kids. It’s always been that way, it’s my normal on a Sunday morning. Last week though she tapped me as I sang. “Mommy, can Dad hold me now?” “Sure, when the song is over. Why do you want to switch now though?” She kind of giggled and then said, “Mommy, you’re just too small. Daddy can hold me better.”
I KNEW this day was coming. I read an article several years ago about this mom who was reminiscing of the days she was able to hold her son. She talked about how she always wondered when the day would come that he was ‘too big’ to be held, and that day of course came, breaking her heart when it did. I actually regret ever finishing that article, Y’all, because from that point on I thought about it ALL the time. And my son, who is six, has gotten SO dang tall, his long legs dangle way past my knees and almost to my shins. Holding him on my hip can be done, but is incredibly difficult; so when it has been my ‘turn’ to hold him for a song, I generally sit down and tickle his back. That same Sunday though, as he tried to nestle onto my shoulder he just couldn’t stop moving. “Pierson, be still, buddy,” I said. “I’m not comfortable, Mom,” he replied. And I knew he wasn’t. As a five foot two woman, I KNOW that I am little. My genetics have me a little bonier than maybe an average person? And I knew when he was squirming and moving that this too, would not be ‘comfortable’ for him much longer.
Babies turn into toddlers, who turn into kids, who I know will turn into teenagers and adults. Am I alone in my struggle of being broken hearted over this fact of life? I know that each stage is wonderful, and truthfully, I have loved ALL of their ages. [Okay…our daughter’s “threes” was VERY challenging…but still, I think I would go back for a while to that age?] My friend Chrissy recently said on Instagram about her new baby girl, “I would say, don’t grow up, but if you never got bigger than we couldn’t go get our nails done and watch chick flicks together, so I’ll just say I’m enjoying YOU in all the phases of life.”
That quote is so spot on with my life right now that I’m holding on really tightly to that truth. I may not be able to hold my children the way I once could…but I so love all our experiences together now that they’re older. Earlier this week Reese plopped down on the couch with me and asked if she could watch my favorite show Heartland with me [totally nerdy and cheesy horse show if you don’t know]. Also in her prayers, she prays for our horses DAILY. She even includes Addie, the mare who Paddy has lived with for six months. She has a GIANT heart and I know that she admires me a lot in this current season of life. How sweet is that?! I mean really? My daughter LIKES me, and I’m also holding tight to THAT amazing blessing. And with my son, I know that I can spend quality time with him building Legos, taking him for Queso at El Nopal, or browsing the toy aisle at Target and he will have the BEST time. And I also know that while he is bigger now…he still needs me. If he loses sight of me in a crowd, I can see immediate panic in his eyes. At bedtime, we still cuddle. He still holds my hand, and hugs me tight multiple times a day.
They’re growing. And we can’t stop it. So I may as well embrace it. And yes, I may be little, but so is my own mama and I tell you what: every time I get to spend time with her in Michigan, I often plop down on her lap and still get those back tickles :) I cherish hers and I’s relationship. The fact that she’s the one I want to call every single day after work. She’s the one I want to text all my horse photos to, the one I can cry with, laugh with, and pray with. If I’m thirty and have this type of relationship with my mom, I know that the same can be true of my kids when they’re on their own. [Well, I can pray at least..!]
New mamas, hold tightly to those new and tiny babies of yours. And I’ll hold ever so tightly to my five and six year old, who soon, won’t fit on this hip of mine anymore.
Photos by Jana Glass