And I'm Still Undone

Yesterday I stood in the shallow end of our local public swimming pool, trying to keep tabs on my three daughters.  This is a task easier said than done; children in a crowded pool scatter as rapidly as the seeds on a blown dandelion puff.  You've got to be hawk-eyed to discern your own sopping, bedraggled kid from the others.

A friend noticed me and stopped to talk.  We observed a few pregnant woman trying to beat the heat and several moms with young children -- really young children.  Little bitty infants -- ones with burp cloths and without neck control.

I had been thinking it, but my friend said it first.  "It seems like a long time ago when that was me."

She was right.  The infant stage has passed for us, and in many ways, it already seems like a former life.

My youngest, now three, catapulted herself down the slide and waved at me.  She's always in motion, racing to keep up with two older sisters, an amalgamation of sweetness and third-child toughness.

As we left the pool, each of my children followed behind me.  My youngest dragged her towel behind her on the parking lot blacktop and finally raised her arms to me -- her signal that she wanted to be carried.  Those flip-flops had carried her as far as she could go.  I hoisted her onto my hip and re-situated the pool bag, towels, and floaties I had been lugging.  She she lowered her head onto my shoulder, her chlorine-damp hair against my neck.

And then she did it: she slung her arm around my neck in a tired hug.  For whatever reason, I can remember when my daughters, as babies, first wrapped their arms around me.  It undid me then, and it still undoes me now.

The baby stage might have passed, but in some fashion, they'll always be my babies.


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  1. I tell mine that all the time - "No matter how old you are, you will always be my baby!"

  2. The funny thing is that you never quite understand this when you're on the "child" side of it, but once you're on the "parent" side, it makes perfect sense.

  3. So sweet! So true!

  4. I loved absolutely every bit of this post. Probably because I recognized so much of it. Very nicely said.


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