This morning, briefly kneeling on the floor of my daughter’s room inside our usual packed-morning flurry, I was helping Araela (8.5) pick out clothes for her school-day, quickly laying out her underwear, pants, dress, sweater, socks~ when she suddenly lay her sweet, braided head in my lap, and looking up at me, said: “I am still your baby, Mama, right?”
She looked so small there, my big, beautiful, blossoming daughter; and in an instant I saw her through fresh eyes: her bare little arms and bright, open, still-little-girl chest, the curves of her full cheeks and pinkness of her lips, the innocent shine of her eyes. Maternal adoration surged through me as I gathered her tightly in my arms: “Oh, yes, you will always, always be my baby, Beloved Girl.” She relaxed and softened completely in my arms, as though embodying her infant self, and made small little cooing sounds. I kissed her face repeatedly, inhaling her, kissed her neck, her chin, her eyelids, ravishing her: “Oh my sweet baby girl, oh I love you so, so much…” She started to giggle wildly, and said, “You are my best Mama, oh my Mom, you are just my best.”
She crawled out of my lap, and proceeded to crawl around her room, in full-on delighted regression, making little baby sounds. Then she sat up straight and said to me, with all her 8 ½ year old eloquence and insight: “Sometimes I truly miss being a baby, Mom. It’s like I can remember that life, inside my heart, when my whole day was just in your arms, in the baby pack, nursing you, with all your attention all the time, like I was the only one for you, so special! And I just miss it, Mom. I liked it better then, than this life of going to school and being away from you and sharing you with Ezra and your work and everything else.”
I sat stunned for a moment, touched deeply by her transparent longing, her clarity, her sadness. I thought (almost defensively) of rushing to remind her of everything that is beautiful in this current life, everything she loves about her independence, her school, her tremendous capacities and how our mother-daughter relationship only flourishes as she grows towards young womanhood.
But as I sat with her exposed tenderness, and my own, I realized what was most true was to just open my arms wide to her again, which she gratefully rushed into, and said quietly into her ear “Oh my Sweet Love, I miss that time too. That was so special, when it was just you and me? That was one of my most favorite times of my whole life. I will always cherish those memories. AND: how amazing, that I only get to love you more and more, all the time. What a blessing is THAT?!”
She luxuriated in my arms a moment, sighed deeply, and then started pulling on her clothes, and I rushed on out, to help her brother, to dress myself, to start their breakfast, and ready my healing room for clients: this immensely full, full life. And had the wisdom to notice, silently, inside my heart: This time, too, right now, with all its challenges, all the ways my heart is pulled in a hundred directions, is one of my more favorite times of my whole life. <3