I realize now that I will never get her back. I have been left with full flash-drives, empty barbie boxes, and stored memories. I can still see the tiny footprints left behind from a bath time gone crazy. There are soggy band aids scrunched up on the tub, and somehow she managed to get pink toothpaste all over the door handle. Above the towels, now spattered with bubbles, is a canvas her and I painted together. Her tiny socks are on the floor and there is an Otter Pop wrapper in the trash from Ice Cream Sunday (it was our special day). There. Is. Water. Everywhere. As I pick up her jammies off the floor, I see she has ingeniously covered up her chipped pink toenails with purple marker. She could care less, to her it is “beautiful and artsy fartsy”. She’s wrapped in her towel singing a song as loud as humanly possible. “Mamaaaaa, warm me up!” I pick up the free spirited baby burrito and rock her back and forth. “This is my girl. How blessed am I that this beautiful girl is my daughter,” I thought to myself. The towel covering her face leaving those deep blue eyes looking back at me. She passes gas and we both laugh so hard we snort – what a lady. I set her up on the counter to dry her hair. We sing the ABC’s together and I can’t help but notice her cute lisp! I tickle her belly button to hear that sweet laugh again. It’s the giggle that tugs at the heart strings so hard you yearn to play each note over and over again. This little squeaky voiced, pig-tailed, wedgy-picking child made me responsible for her human life. She made me a mother.
I learned quickly that diaper changes had to happen lightning fast, showers were for the brave (or the sleepwalkers), and breast pumps were incredibly awkward. I used a nose bulb for the first time and gagged my way down the hall. I fell in love with the ‘paci’ and then quickly learned to give it to the dogs to destroy. She taught me that it was possible to poop up your back, that nothing is more terrifying than a sick baby, and that thing called “sleep” was taken hostage and would not be found ever again. She taught me to be brave, as she hopped up into the chair to get her ears pierced. She showed me an enormous amount of patience as she waited to meet the princesses at Disneyland. I have wiped her butt, brushed her teeth, and attempted to do her hair. I was in awe of this tiny creature. She ate, played, cooed, threw up, pooped everywhere, rolled over, smiled, and somewhere between potty training and big girl beds…I lost her. That little one I’m talking about, isn’t so little anymore. The kid that shrieked with excitement when she found out Tangled was on her undies. That teeny voice calling from her crib, “Mommy! Good morning!”. The little one who was scared to death of Minions. Her, I miss her. I have missed out on so much of Chloe’s “little life” as she was gone 4 months at a time away from me. I feel like big chunks of precious time and memories were stolen away. I realize I will never get her back, which is why I cherish every moment so very much.
I have some big shoes to fill for this amazing little person. So, I will sing Disney songs at the top of my lungs so long as I get to hear her do it too. We will dance to her impressive choreography and laugh so hard milk comes out of our noses. I will play dress up even if the shoe doesn’t fit. I will play barbies and be the one that no one likes – every single time. I promise to always give her my attention, love, and hope. Although she is no longer my baby, she will always be my girl.
Now, I have been blessed to feel this joy for a second time. We have a boy in the house who will soon be filling up the memory bank. At three months, he is simply squishy and perfect. To all the mothers on Mother’s Day 2015…have fun with your kids! Make memories, be silly, and stop time by investing in the NOW. The dishes and laundry can wait! Put your phone down and go play! Happy Mother’s Day!