I’ll Love You Forever…

Little voices, tiny hands.  Baby hair still wisps, framing round faces.  Wide-eyed.  They move, and squirm, roll and tumble.  And I try to quiet them, but they are alive with energy.  Full of life.

We read on the blue rug, I’ll Love You Forever.  As I begin to form words on the tongue, I can feel the tears welling behind the wall I’ve built.  My game face.  Trying to be strong for everyone.  Not wanting to let emotions show.  Making this about them, not me.

Their sing-songy lilt joins mine with the refrain, I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, My baby you’ll be.  I focus on the words- the pictures, as I read.   Remembering those infant days twelve short years ago when I thought I would never again be able to do another thing but sit and hold an infant.  When I took walks up and down the river-road, trying to console that colicky baby-boy.  Holding him tightly, fearing the worst.  Bundling, swaddling, comforting, adoring.   And I remember.  Those crazy days led on.  To crazy days with two.  And how much more mischief can two get into.   Both into cupboards pouring out boxes of cereal on the floor, smearing Vaseline all over the couch.  Baby voices then, calling me, hugging me, wanting me.  Oh, the tender joy to hold chubby, little hands.  And yet, there were times.  I wanted to put them in the zoo.  I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, My baby you’ll be.

I remember still.  The days are not so long and far removed from now. When there were three- and four.  Could a heart hold that much love?  Days of highs and lows, of joys and sorrows.  Days when they walked through the house as if they owned it, full of spitfire and gumption.  Of battles over clothing, movies, free time, chores.  Sibling rivalries.  Of embarrassing parents who like to tell stories.  Of wanting to be close, but pushing away. These days of feeling like I am in the zoo.  Of sulky stares and stolen hugs.  Those days are now.  And yet.  This I know for sure.  I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, My baby you’ll be.

And some nights, when they are really asleep, I tip-toe into their rooms and I touch their cheeks with a mother’s kiss.  Tucking the blankets around their slumbering bodies.  Holding them close in my heart. And I know then, as I know always.  That I will love them forever.

As long as I’m living, my babies they’ll be.

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Treasuring the Moments of Christmas…

I stir the sticky rum sauce for steamed Christmas pudding.  One of the last vestiges of the Christmas traditions yet to be savoured, after a generous slice of savoury meat pie with cranberry preserves.  It is Boxing Day.  And all too soon, it will be over.  The food, festivities and family get-togethers.  All good things must come to an end.  And so too must this.  Bringing Christmas 2012 to a close.  Bringing an end to all that has been anticipated and hoped for.

Another chapter in our lives, through.

And with it, this too shall pass: family gathered round the table for rousing games of Scribblish.  The newest silly family game played by young and young-at-heart.  Moments  continue to tick by.  What I wish: for time to just slow down.    For it is time that we crave the most.  It is our truest Christmas wish.  To have more time.   Time is a most valuable resource.  It is that which affords moments whereby a mug of steaming Christmas latte sprinkled with nutmeg can be savoured.  That which allows for moments spent gazing at the twinkling lights of earthy pine.  Which allows for inhaling heady scents of Christmas baking mingled with candles burning.  For feeling the warmth of flames a-glow.  For taking opportunities to visit with family and friends without the need to rush.  With time, one no longer has pressing schedules to adhere to, a stop watch ticking out the seconds.  There is time to spend.

And yet.  All too soon boxes will be packed away and new places found for books and games and other Christmas novelties acquired.  It will soon all be over, and reality will once again stare us straight in the eye.  And with Christmas over, must the feelings of warmth and light and joy slip away as quietly as a shadow on snowy white lawn in late winter?

Such a pile-up of emotions.  Joy, exhaustion, anxiety, fear mingled with hope.  Waiting for a brand new year.  One moment looking back to what has been, while the next moment is spent looking forward to what is to come.  This feeling , the after-Christmas blues is as familiar to some as a well-worn parka.  A feeling of deja-vous.   For we’ve been here before, and for certain we will embrace this emotion again.  If we are given the breath and life to celebrate another Christmas.   The years pass quickly and time melts moments into hours, then days, weeks, months and years.  And before one knows it, time has fooled us again.

One is left wondering:  where has the time gone in such a hurry?

Is the secret to slowing time down found in slowing down ourselves?  I circle the pot with my spoon, licking hot, buttery liquid as I go.  I dump the empty pot into sudsy soap bubbles to be washed, wiped and stored away.  And I listen to the noise in the background.  Happy sounds of people not in a rush.  People who have time.  Even if but for this small moment.  And I delight in the time that I am holding, as if it were a delicate ornament made of glass.  Memorizing this moment as if it were the very last.