As soon as she stepped foot out of Kindergarten -- what? two weeks ago? a lifetime ago? -- she declared herself a First Grader. I know what that means. That means 7-year-olds. And homework. Sleepovers. It means almost-a-second-grader. Almost a teenager and almost a young lady. But she is my first baby, so I contradict her: she will not be a first grader until she steps foot in the classroom. Even then, I will be suspicious. First graders are not little. They are full-grown, still-growing people, walking away into life.
"Mama, when I was a baby, did I make cute noises like Landon does?" She asks from the back of the car as we're driving across town. Landon is gurgling and squealing delightedly -- delightfully -- in front of her.
"Of course," I tell her. "You sounded a lot like him, all bubbly and happy."
But as her attention refocuses out a tinted window, I panic; I can't actually remember the sound of her baby gurgles and her sloppy raspberries. They must have sounded just the same as her baby brother's. As her little sister's. Babies do this. But was her inflection sharper, softer, broader, tighter? I can't hear it in my head.
I stare at her in the rear view mirror, at her sister in the next seat, at her brother -- all I can hear is right now. This very minute, the bubbles and screeches and questions and giggles and songs, they fill my head to the exclusion of memory although I desperately wish to hold it all, every scrap and snippet, snug for the rest of time, until it stands still and eternity holds us...
But then they are all three silent at the very moment my eyes begin to prick with hot tears, and it is okay.
I can't hold the yesterdays. I can only step into the tomorrows.
First-grader or not, she is living into tomorrow. I guess I'll join her.
Tuesdays Around the World is hosted by Communal Global -- go visit to take a quick globe-trot and make some new friends!
Also linking with Heather's Just Write -- another place to make new friends and share yourself with words.