Last night AE’s dad was working late and I had a craving for sushi, so I took AE to our favorite sushi/hibachi place.  She was an absolute doll the whole time; she ate her edamame and her avocado roll with gusto (she eats the rice and avocado out of the sushi roll, leaving the seaweed, for which I can’t blame her, since that seaweed never really chews, but feels like you’re chawing on some masking tape or something).  She talked and laughed, and watched the hibachi cook making people’s meals.  She’s normally terrified of the fire when it flames up on the grill, but since we were sitting up at the sushi bar, comfortably far away, she was not afraid and in fact loved watching the men cook.  It’s a testament to how often we go there that she knew before he did it that the cook was going to throw an egg into the top of his hat as part of his tricks.  I told her, “I’m scared of the fire!” just to play with her a bit.  She was in my lap at this point, after we were done eating, and she stood up and turned around, wrapped her little arms around my neck, placed her cheek to mine, and patted me on the arm to comfort me.  Stayed there for about 3 minutes.

Then we walked to the grocery store, and she had her little hands in her coat pockets, all grown up and proud.  She pushed the child-size cart around the store and after we paid, she carried the little bag of groceries like it was a treasure.  We had such a nice little time together, chatting, laughing, singing, just being together.  It was the first time I’d had a glimpse of what it’ll be like to go out to dinner with her when she’s, say, 10 years old, and I realized just how much fun I have in store for me, watching her grow into the person she’s becoming, seeing the world through her eyes.  I can’t wait to learn what makes her heart sing and what makes it ache, what is important to her and how she expresses herself.

My mom was talking last week at Thanksgiving about how sweet but terribly sad it is to watch us all go our separate ways, how heart-wrenching it is as a mother to let your children go.  I feel I already get glimpses of this in moments such as last night.  AE is already too long to comfortably snuggle in the rocking chair with me at night as I rock her, more interested in the world around her than she is in me, but with these moments of pure tenderness and love where she reminds me of the baby she used to be.  Parenthood is a roller coaster of emotions, each moment containing in it the greatest joy and also the greatest grief– heart-aching longing for your child, desiring to experience fully each breath with her but also feeling your throat tighten at the awareness of just how fleeting each breath is.  I ache to think of watching her walk away from me on the first day of kindergarten or on her wedding day, but I am so eternally grateful to be here for her life.

Almighty God, heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children: Give us calm strength and patient wisdom as we bring them up, that we may teach them to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

~ Book of Common Prayer