You do so many little things that are so sweet, and I want to remember each and every one of them. But, you know how your Mama’s brain is. I forget everything. I hope I never forget the sweet smiles, the sassy attitude when you say “I love you,” and the way that you want me to hold your hand when we’re in the car or sitting on the couch. When Daddy is driving us around somewhere, you often say, “Mama, hand?” and want me to stretch my arm all the way into the back seat to hold your hand. Sometimes I can’t because I’m not a contortionist, but as often as I can, I do. It’s those little moments that I want to hold onto forever because I know that all too soon you won’t want to hold my hand anymore. You’ll be too big and grown up to need Mama’s hands. So I’ve got to hold on tight every time you ask and commit those moments to memory.
Memories are important. They serve as a reminder of how wonderful life has been and will be. They also serve as a way to keep things in perspective. Because not only do I want to keep all of these memories in my heart forever, I have to log all of these memories away so that they can resurface and save your life later on. (And I say that with love and affection.)
Memories will help us both in many ways.
Like when you’re 10 years old and tell me at 9pm on Thursday that your science project is due on Friday. I’ll remember how much I love you and will decide not to sell you to the family down the street.
And when you’re 13 and throw a tantrum in the mall because I won’t buy you underwear from Victoria’s Secret (because you ain’t gonna be showin’ em to anyone anyway!), I’ll remember that just a few short years before you were excited about your Tinkerbell panties and hiding under the trampoline holding them so I couldn’t put them away. And they covered everything.
And when you’re 16 and slamming your bedroom door because I told you your curfew is 9:00 because nothing good happens after dark, I’ll go back to the days when you wanted to hold my hand, to cuddle with me, to have me with you every second of the day, and I’ll restrain myself from sending you to reform school and ground you instead.
And when you threaten to move out because I won’t sign for the tattoo you want etched across your back of the name “Doug,” I’ll let you sleep outside for the night. And even though you won’t think so, I’ll love you anyway. And when Doug breaks your heart, I’ll be there for you to cry to and you’ll thank me for seeing beyond what your crazy 17-year-old hormones can see.
And when you graduate from high school (with honors), I’ll see your two-year-old face flash before me, and I won’t be able to stop the tears.
And when you move out (to go to college), I’ll be overbearing and call you everyday for a while. And send you gift cards that can’t be used to buy beer or alcohol of any kind. And send you pictures from home to remind you of how much you’re loved and to encourage you to make good decisions.
And when you graduate from college and have that first job all lined up, I’ll help you pick out what to wear on your first day. And remember how I used to pick out your clothes everyday and put giant bows on your little, hairless head.
And when you bring your boyfriend home to meet us for the first time (because let’s face it, you’re gonna graduate from college before dating), I’ll quiz him like the FBI investigating a terror cell. And then upon deciding that I like him (because you’re going to have your mother’s responsible taste), I’ll embarrass the crap out of you by showing him pictures involving bad haircuts, weird clothes, and braces.
And I’ll remember each moment. I’ll remember your smile in each embarrassing, adolescent stage of your life. I’ll remember all of the good, less of the bad, and wish that I could live it all again. And I’ll wish that you were still that bouncing toddler asking me, “Mama, hand?” again. When I feel the tears come on, I’ll remind myself how lucky I am to have lived all of these memories with you. Because you are my girl forever.
I love you,