Thursday, July 19, 2012

Unforgettable {A Bigger Picture Moment}

It's not like we haven't done this a million times: up the stairs to the preschool classroom, over to the table full of markers and paper, backpack on the hook, blankie in her arms.  I could do this in my sleep, and I'm pretty sure -- on the nights I can't fall asleep because my brain is running in the same-old circles -- that's exactly what's happening.  I'm reliving the monotony of a day.  A series of moments.  Looped on repeat.  With accompanying soundtracks and requisite second-guessing.

But every preschool morning -- or summer preschool morning, as it were -- the process kind of falls apart at the end.  The steps are all supposed to lead to me walking out the door, leaving Lauren to play and learn for a few hours.  Just long enough for me to take Landon home and let him take a nap before heading back into town.  Instead, the steps lead to Lauren hugging my legs, clinging to my neck, refusing the classroom. 
I will say that it's not terrible; she's usually hiding a shy smile while begging me to stay.  She loves her teacher and the activities.  But every time, while her hands are tangled around some receding body part of mine, I feel bad about going. 

Why are you sad when it's time for school to start, sweetie?

Because I miss mama. 

Miss mama!?!  But there's so much cool stuff to do at school!  Soon, you won't miss me at all, I'm certain.  You'll forget all about me, because you'll be too busy having fun! 

No.  I'll always miss mama, even if I'm having fun.

So I give a dozen last kisses and squeeze a dozen last hugs and carefully extricate myself from her grasp.  She gathers her blankie to her chest like it will hold her together.  Thermal duct tape for the soul. 

Then the day comes.  You know the one? 

How was your morning, sweetheart?

It was great!  We had chapel, and art, and Miss J sang a song about a bear hunt and it was so funny, and...mama?  I FORGOT about you!  I forgot ALL about you!

She keeps discussing the morning's details, probably outlining the distribution and temperature of the snacks; the time she saw her big sister in the bathroom and gave her a hug; the way she wishes her best friend could be in her class.  She talks, as usual.

But I am only half listening.

Because she's finally learned how to forget about me.

And I have a sudden urge to run backwards in time -- limbs flailing with graceless desperation -- and replace her soft arms around my neck.  I would beg her not to forget about me after all.  I would carry her -- my babyest girl in a 4-year-old's disguise -- off into the sunset and we would live happily ever after, mama and baby, never to be parted by evil (wonderful) preschool teachers or evil (wonderful) independence. 

Instead, I smile right through all of my lying teeth. 

You did?!  I'm so happy, baby!  I KNEW you would forget about me! I KNEW you would. 

Every Thursday, we come together to share the harvest of intentional living by capturing a glimpse of the Bigger Picture through a simple moment. Join the Bigger Picture Community here today! Reflect upon something simple — or simply magical — that’s resonated with you this week, then share it with us!


  1. Oh what a perfect, poignant capture of something so bittersweet. Your ending here slays me. She may warp herself up in endless, fantastical things, but truly, she will never forget you.

  2. Oh how this touches my heart.

    Last week in Sunday School the ladies and I were talking about "the moment." The time when you look at your child and no longer see a toddler, but that they've become a "kid." No babies...just boys and I've had the moment with each of my children, but none struck me so much as with my middle daughter.

    We were on a walk and she was skipping around in front of me, and no longer were there chubby little baby limbs and stumbling steps. They were replaced by muscles and grace. Oh that moment stopped my steps and my heart. She's 9 now, my oldest is 14 and my youngest 5, but all of them were once by soft little babies, and in my heart, they always will be.

  3. I felt very keenly the moment of forgetting with my first-born, but my second has always been so independent that I'm not sure if I'm raising her or she's raising me...

    Lovely post!

  4. It is such a bittersweet paradox. To mother successfully we make ourselves somewhat obsolete. So you have my congratulations and my condolences! You are mothering well.

  5. What a lovely, lovely heart-pang!

  6. This made me think of a combination of two sayings...the one about happiness and the butterfly - no need to chase it, just be still and it will find you. And the one about if we love something, let it go...if it comes back, it's ours forever. This whole child raising process is an interweaving of those two things for me...I have found, over the years, that when my soul is still, and I'm genuinely willing to let go, they always find their way back...and bring such happiness when they do!! My kids spent their day off together yesterday - they went on a whale watch together. On their way home, they stopped by the house to bring my husband and I cupcakes from the place they'd stopped after their adventure....they came in with stories and laughter just like they were running in from the playground years ago. It is a constant tug as they grow through life...and you've captured what goes on inside of us moms so well!!

  7. Oh my goodness, I suddenly and unexpectedly bawled reading this! You are such a good mother, Sarah.

  8. Truly only a mother's heart could say something so hard for all the right reasons.

  9. Oh the push and pull of motherhood, so lovely friend.

  10. You're so good, Sarah: a good mom, a good writer, a good friend. I *know* that moment -- the pride! the heartbreak! Thanks for drawing me in.

  11. Oh, my heart. I see my mom's love for me in a whole new light as I mother my own little ones. Watching them grow up and gain their independence is so good and so hard at the same time. I want them to spread their wings...but I also want to slow down time. I love this. Thank you for sharing such a tender mothering moment.


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?