and then...let it out.
In the time it takes us to take one single breath, that's the amount of time it takes our children to grow up.
Today is Dakotah's birthday. To say it seems like yesterday that she was a newborn, that I was holding her, and memorizing her for the very first time is an understatement.
Dakotah has always been such a wonderful child to raise. Beautiful and smart from the very beginning - her video of her first birthday shows her saying "Oh, wow, I like it" so clearly. She potty trained at 18 months in a matter of 4 or 5 days - simply announced that she didn't need diapers anymore, and that was that.
My first and only child for 4 years, we spent hours and hours and hours together, lavishing over her every accomplishment. She was my greatest playmate, and I could not get enough of her. Every day, we would work on a craft project, or go for a walk, or do puzzles together, or play school.
When she slept, I would count the minutes until she woke again, missing her and eager to have her near me again.
I would tell Wayne over and over again that we had won the child lottery - that God had blessed us with the perfect child. What an awesome God He is to have blessed us with another winning ticket 4 years later.
How fast the years have gone by, like time lapsed photography, like the guy who took a picture of himself every day for 17 years.
Now, she towers over me, 5'9" of legs and a heap of hair, and a body that would easily pass for 3 or 4 years older than she is already. Still smart and funny and pretty, and every bit a teenager. She rarely travels in anything but a pack of other teenagers, giggling girls who love to shop and spend hours on their hair and makeup, and yes, even the occasional boy or two who infiltrates the sisterhood of girlfriends.
Soon, she'll be begging for the car to go somewhere, leaving me with a twinge of reality that it won't be long before she is off to university, where she plans to study to become and Optometrist or a Speech Pathologist.
Another deep breath, and I'll be writing about her graduating from University, about some fine young man that has swept her off her feet, and how beautiful she looks on her wedding day. A blink of an eye, and I will be holding a grandchild, and telling her that it just doesn't seem possible that this baby isn't her, that we aren't transported back to 1993 all over again.
Soak in every single moment of your child's life. There is no better way to live your days.
Happy Birthday, Sweetheart.