Some days, if I am not booked in with a client, I am lucky enough to work from home. My youngest daughter stays home with me and I keep her busy with various activities (Lego, coloring, crafts, and movies) while I juggle phone calls and emails.
On quiet days, like today, she often climbs into my lap with a favorite book and asks if I will take a break to read to her. Today, it was an old favourite Huggy Kissy by Leslie Patricelli. We’ve been reading it since she was a baby.
She is now a budding kindergartener with a love for books. She can hardly wait to read all by herself. As I read, she stops me to discuss the words and insists I point to each word along the way. I can’t help but be flooded with memories of all the times we’ve shared this story.
First, I held her in my arms and kissed and hugged her tightly with the story while she did her best to grab the book and get it into her mouth. Soon she hugged and kissed me with the story, too. Some days her brother and sisters would share in story time with us and all the hugging and kissing was rowdy and filled with laughter. And now… here we are. She is no longer a baby, even though she is my baby. She understands the words and that there are words. She points out letters and sounds.
It won’t be long before board books like Huggy Kissy are packed away or passed on to a young cousin. Next she will read the stories to me. A few years from now she will curl up on the sofa near me to read her own books, and then one day, I will know the joy of having her children climb onto my lap so that Grandma Lacey can read the story, and her son or daughter will show me all the words they know.
The time with our children while they are small is so fleeting. This year, with my oldest graduating and my youngest, and last, in kindergarten, I am more aware than ever of just how fast the time goes by. Over the years the days were long. Lonely days with a newborn, exhausting days with toddlers, days when I just wanted to run away from it all or go to the bathroom alone (with a bottle of wine)… but today I am reveling in a stolen moment.
Today I will hug her tight when the book says hug. I will kiss her hard when the book says kiss, and then I will hold her close until she becomes restless to return to her busy activities before returning to mine.