If They Could Just Stay Little — How to Make a Memory

– Posted in: Elfie, Getting Older, Growing Up, Mouths of Babes, Parenting, Personal Insanity, Sappy Tammy, Worst Mom Moments

“I’m having that feeling again.”

My 9-year-old daughter has her arms wrapped around my waist. One cheek is pressed against my stomach. I’ve just spent the last hour reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireΒ to her and her brother, and now I’m trying to extricate myself from the area. She’s gotten out of bed and cornered me in the hallway. They both know how much this bugs me. They know how annoyed I get when I sit with them, talking or reading way past bedtime, and then they pull a “Scratch my back” or “Just one more hug.” It flips my switch faster than turning off the light.

“What feeling,” I say, trying not to grit my teeth.

“Like I can’t stop hugging you. And I don’t want to be without you. Like after my first sleepover.”

I remember how she had so much fun at her friend’s house but felt so strange afterward. Like she’d taken a glimpse through the doorway out of Neverland and realized that someday she’d have to walk through it.

“Is this because you spent so much time away from us today?” I ask.

“I think so.” She looks up at me, eyes filled with concern.Β “I’m getting too big.” Over the past year, she’s gotten long and lanky. I forget how tall she is, and I accidentally sit on her feet when she’s under the covers. But standing here, in her Belle princess nightgown, she looks so small. And I’m grateful. Because I know what she means, and she’s right.

It’s going too fast.

I hoist her up under the arms, and she wraps her legs around my waist. She drapes her arms over my shoulders and melts into my chest. We stand there for who knows how long. Enough time to make a memory. Enough time for me to take in the details: the weight of her body in my arms; the feeling of her hair on my cheek; the slippery material of her nightgown in my hands.

“You’re still my little,” I say. “You’ll always be my little.”

I squeeze her tight and let her slip to the floor. I mentally thank myself for all the times I decided to carry her when she could’ve walked. I wonder when I won’t be able to pick her up anymore.

She looks at me, still sad, still concerned. I bend down to kiss her and blow a raspberry into her neck. She bursts into fits of laughter.

“Hey! Don’t do that!” she says. Of course I do it again.

“Okay, go to bed. You have another big day tomorrow,” I say. She hugs me one more time and heads back to her room.

I walk downstairs and leave my little one to tuck herself back in.

If they could just stay little -- how to make a memory


34 Comments… add one

Verity July 27, 2013, 2:26 pm

Made me cry…you stinker.
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Tammy July 28, 2013, 3:03 pm

I know. I suck. But I did warn you!

Susanne July 27, 2013, 3:11 pm

Damn it, Tammy! *sniff*

Tammy July 28, 2013, 3:04 pm

Sorry! Okay, maybe I’m not that sorry…

Susanne Nelson July 27, 2013, 4:16 pm

Beautiful, love this! Totally know what you mean. Speaking of carrying them when they could otherwise walk, I remember the Montessori kindergarten my oldest attended told me I couldn’t carry her out of the building because she should learn independence! Loved Montessori preschool but never heard that one before. Childhood really is SO short!

Tammy July 28, 2013, 3:05 pm

Thanks Susanne! It’s so funny you said that because we’re at a Montessori school, and while I totally understand this philosophy, it’s one that I’ve never been able to get behind. I’ve been a “carry, hold, and hug” my kids for as long as possible parent. Even with all my health stuff. Well, you know…

Kristen Daukas July 28, 2013, 7:43 am

UGH. My little turns 10 this week. I’m not sure how I’m going to take it. Or make it. Or both.
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Tammy July 28, 2013, 3:07 pm

Oh Kristen. I’m not sure why, but 10 is so hard! Maybe because it’s double digits? But I want to read your 4 lessons on navigating middle school (maybe just to stress myself out further…).

bapu July 28, 2013, 11:25 am

bapu really enjoyed the article and of course the wonderful pic with caption should win an award!

Tammy July 28, 2013, 3:08 pm

This is why all my readers should be my dad.:)

Mary Styler July 28, 2013, 2:47 pm

That is just what it is like. But It’s okay. They DO grow up. They move away. But the call, and they text, and they visit and they call you Mommy and hug you and it makes it all better. But love every minute. I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face typing this as my little girl and her man are here visiting. Still get’s me, even when she is here. πŸ™‚

Tammy July 28, 2013, 3:09 pm

Thanks Mary! And you’re so lucky to have a daughter who loves you so much and actually LIKES being around you. I can only hope for that.

rachel July 28, 2013, 5:14 pm

Beautiful. Just beautiful, and I know exactly how you feel. Exactly. I have a two year old, the only one I still carry and I know that all too soon he will also be too big. Life. It just goes too fast.
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Tammy July 29, 2013, 12:18 pm

Thanks Rachel! I don’t know about you, but having kids of various ages, I kind of have to remember that they ALL feel this way. I have to think about the fact that my son still wants to be cuddled like a little kid, even though he’s the older one. I forget sometimes because he isn’t the youngest.

Allison Tait August 3, 2013, 12:49 am

LOvely post! That space between little and big is so small.
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Tammy August 3, 2013, 11:22 am

Thanks Allison! “The space between” — one of my favorite lines.

Mary {My Life in Scotland} August 3, 2013, 1:13 am

What a beautiful post!
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Tammy August 3, 2013, 11:22 am

Thanks Mary! Thanks for reading.

Teresa August 3, 2013, 3:29 am

What a PRICELESS moment. Your daughter’s picture with the caption is awesome!
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Tammy August 3, 2013, 11:23 am

I’m just starting to experiment with the text on photos thing. So thanks for the encouragement!

Tracey August 3, 2013, 3:38 am

I can’t believe I’m crying at 6:30 in the morning! I think the same thing every time I watch my little ones. Beautiful post.

Tammy August 3, 2013, 11:26 am

Haha! You know, now that I think of it, I generally reserve my crying for evening! At least my complete “sobbing/total nervous breakdown” crying. Anyway, I’m glad you liked it.

Mel August 3, 2013, 3:44 am

Oh man, pass me the tissues!! Beautiful Post Tammy. A bit close too home really as my girl is turning 9 this month too. It’s going WAY too fast! Mel x

Tammy August 3, 2013, 11:32 am

I know! WAY too fast. Happy birthday to your little one!

Mrs Holsby August 3, 2013, 4:29 am

Oh dear, I appear to have something in my eye.
Just beautiful.

FYI I’m 37 and I’m still my mum’s little. My babies are her little littles.
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Tammy August 3, 2013, 11:33 am

Haha! I love that — I have a manly man friend who always says “It’s dusty” (he’s sappier than I am, incidentally).

Melanie August 3, 2013, 5:46 am

gah now I’m crying!!!!! They do grow up WAY too fast!!! My 12 year old reminds me of that every day, especially now that he can look me straight in the eye. Thank you for the reminder to slow down and enjoy them. :*)
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Tammy August 3, 2013, 11:34 am

Ack! That’s going to freak me out. And with boys? When you have to start looking up at them?

Leah Davidson August 3, 2013, 7:34 am

I know exactly how you feel:(( As much as I love to see them become their own individuals, I hate that time is quickly moving on. I’m forever saying to my kids to “Stop growing! Promise me to stay little forever”. But, they will always be my babies.
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Tammy August 3, 2013, 11:35 am

Exactly. They’ll always be our babies. Even when we’re 90 and they’re 60.:)

Olivia August 6, 2013, 8:53 pm

A Mother’s love!
I have two older boys (9 & 10) who will snuggle on the couch with me but there is no way in hell they will kiss my check in front of their buddies. I get the spikey hair in my face if I am lucky. My daughter and baby boy still love LONG cuddles…..I’m hoping forever

Tammy August 7, 2013, 12:52 pm

At least they’ll still snuggle in secret!

Maxabella August 8, 2013, 1:35 am

“You’ll always be my little” is just gorgeous. And so true. x
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Tammy August 8, 2013, 12:51 pm


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