Can You Trade A Belt For More Time?
“Honey, pull your pants up. I can see your knickers.”
“I’m trying, but I need a new belt. Mine are all too small.”
That is how the conversation started with my preteen daughter.
It was at that moment that a million images flashed through my head.
It wasn’t long ago that I was holding a precious baby girl, soaking up cuddles in the chair as I fed her a bottle. Looking down at that precious face and seeing her eyes light up at the sound of my voice and little squeals that turned into whole body squirms. Running some days on caffeine and willpower from long sleepless nights as she fought through bouts of colic.
I blink, and there before me is a little girl who is discovering how much she loves all things water. Hours and hours of her life have been spent with a bucket, a puddle, and sometimes a hose. I wish I could go back and tell my younger mom self that when she gets her own bathroom with a big tub, there will be days when you will send her to go take a bath to calm her anxieties and she’ll spend hours soaking. Water is her therapy.
Boom, just like that, I go jump to a little girl getting on the bus to go to school for the first time. Such excitement and smiles. Off to the bus she goes, skipping with a quick wave; all the time, I am holding back the tears. My baby isn’t a baby anymore, and that big yellow bus is taking her to the next phase of her life.
Again, I jump to another flash of memories. This time my little girl is hiking with me up a mountain trail in Utah. She is eight, and we are on a trip to watch my cousin graduate from high school. This particular day, we are going to see Mt. Timpanogos. This is the first time she’s seen mountains, and she’s in complete awe at how far she can see. There is pure amazement on her face all day long.
“Mom, hey Mom…MOM!”
My attention is rattled back to my daughter.
“Here, try this one, it has more notches in it, and you might be able to fit into this one. If anything, we can shorten the end.” I tell her as I am handing over one of my belts.
“Mom, I like this one; it is pretty, but isn’t this your favorite belt?” says my daughter as she is putting on the belt and tightening it up.
“It is, but it looks like it fits you! It is yours now, and it looks nice as well.” I respond.
“Thanks, Mom, you’re the best,” she sings out as she skips away from me with her new belt.
I still stand here, realizing at this exact moment that I blinked and my squirming baby girl is now fitting into my belt. I don’t remember giving her permission to grow up on me.
How did I seem to not realize how fast time was going? What have I been doing not to notice?
I rough counted the weekends that are left from now until my child turns 18. There are only about 300 of them, 150 of which are ones she will spend with her father. All of a sudden, time seems more fleeting. I feel like I am losing precious time.
Why didn’t I appreciate the little moments we had already more?
Why didn’t I savor more? Did I teach her everything she needs to know? Am I raising a good person? Where can I improve with the time I have left? Should I be teaching life lessons or giving her experiences?
Do I really even know what I am doing?
All of a sudden, I really wish when I gave her my belt, it gave me credit for more time with her, because right now, I don’t feel like I will ever have enough.