Braylen accompanied me on my weekly grocery trip last Sunday. This particular day she was in an extremely loving mood. Before we left the house she sat in my lap at the desk while I wrote out the grocery list, her arms wrapped around mine, her eyes were fixed on my every move. Don’t forget to add my apples, mama. And my ‘nola bars, too. I planned to leave her home with Allen while I shopped, that’s what she generally prefers, but not this time. She grabbed her shoes and headed to the door when I did, I had a sweet little shadow for the day.
As we were walking through the store, she kept asking me for jus’ one more kiss. I leaned down to her and whispered in her ear, You know, one day you’re going to be embarrassed when mommy kisses you in the grocery store. She looked up at me with a smile, the kind that makes her nose scrunch up and her eyes disappear. I laughed, not quite sure that she understood, but when I reached to put something in the cart she said, This day I give you all my kisses and hugs.
I could feel it immediately, that familiar sting of tears. In that moment, I felt just how blessed I was to be her mother, to be in the middle of this sweet moment. People bagged produce and shuffled carts around me, I was blissfully unaware of everything else. Any other day, I would have let my mind wander to the day I drop her off at school, and she decides she’s too big for embarrassing hugs from her mother. Not this day.
This day. The weight that those two simple words carry can be profound. I am guilty of letting my mind wander and bring back worry and confusion. I am guilty of second-guessing myself and over-thinking parenting decisions. I am guilty of letting the worry of tomorrow project onto the joy of today. I’m quick to let the fear of time passing too quickly overshadow this day.
I can’t be sure about tomorrow. I can’t predict what the future might hold. I can be sure about today, this day. I can take this moment and live it for everything it’s worth. I can be deliberate and intentional in this day. Life is full of uncertainties that bring tremendous worry to any person who gives them a second thought. Those uncertainties are amplified when we’re given another life to look after, when we’re entrusted with a gift so great.
I want to remember those simple words, from that little voice, each and every time I sell a moment short by connecting it with a moment of worry. Sure, one day she’ll grow up and have to figure things out on her own. She’ll find herself somewhere in this great big world. She’ll choose a profession and find love and live life on her own.
But not this day.
This day, she pretends she is a princess.
This day, she lets me steal kisses anytime I want.
This day, she plays dress-up in my high-heels and necklaces.
This day, she asks for an extra bedtime story, and I agree, without a second thought.
This day, she has to pull up a stool to help me in the kitchen because she can’t see over the countertops.
This day, I took in the moment. I memorized the ringlets that fall down her neck. I pulled out my camera and took a picture of her big-eyed expression when she’s really excited to tell me something. I heard each and every footstep as she ran across the kitchen to meet me at the door when I came home. I let her tell me the story (for the hundredth time) of Coco chasing the cat up a tree, and I listened as if it were the first time.
And now, I’m going to tiptoe into her room and say a prayer. I’m going to thank God for the beauty and the sweet simplicity that this day brought.