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Friday, July 31, 2015

Every Little Bit Matters

Copyright Amy Aves Challenger 2014
It was 10AM. I felt busy, preoccupied, and stressed. But I decided to give my six-year-old a little time before getting the “real” stuff done. She’d been asking me to draw with her for the last couple of days.

A while later, as we finished drawing a fairy’s dress, my daughter’s sing-song voice pulled me in, “And Mama, see, this fairy likes candy so much!” She drew a piece of striped candy beside the face of the curly-headed girl with wings outstretched. And as I watched my daughter, I felt a weird sadness.

I noticed the high pitch of her voice, the tiny freckles on her nose, the ratty state of the swimmer’s hair that she refuses to comb. I smelled the sweetness of her breath exuberantly pushing out joyful chatter. I noticed how big her blue eyes grew when she talked and how thoughtfully she considered the life of a fairy.

And I felt more aware than usual that next year my girl will be different. She might not believe in fairies. She might not want to draw with me. She might never again be this bubbly being flitting through my kitchen, drawing and cooing over a picture she’s created with me. And because I’ve been so forgetful lately, I started feeling a panic about whether I might remember it all— exactly how it looked, felt, sounded. I worried I’d lose the moment.

And then it occurred to me that so many of us are running about capturing time with photographs or blog posts or emails or texts. The elusive quality of life is terrifyingly slippery. We get techy gadgets to bottle our moments. We share them with people who might remember them on Facebook, Twitter or Pintrist. If we don’t catch that moment or the next one, it just might slip away, into the forgotten memory bank of the wandering brain…into the terabytes of time hopping by. So we run around snapping, snatching, pinning life with all the bits of memory we can gather.

And I went on to think that there will come a day when I’m not with this girl any longer — at least not in this world. Where will my memories lie then? One day we’ll part from one another, I thought. How cruel. And then the tears started creeping out, betraying my depressing mind. I couldn’t believe I had managed to make this lovely time we were having feel sad.

“Mommy, are you OK?” her voice snapped me back to the present. Her thin eyebrows were raised. She had just finished drawing the star on the fairy’s magic wand.

“Oh yes, I’m fine!” I replied, quickly wiping my eyes with a sniff. “That wand is perfect!”

And as we finished our fairy, I felt like a different mom than minutes before— one able to see and hold and take in the real miracle of my child— the breathing, zippy girl, right there at the messy kitchen table. It was sort of like a talking gift had bonked me on the head, shouting, “Hey! Pay attention! Look what you got! Enjoy it, lady!”

I pray I remember that my family, my children, my friends, my life are HERE. And they’re bigger than my worries, my lists, or my fear of the future. They’re bigger than a photograph or a blog. They’re much bigger than a megabyte or a kilobyte or whatever. They are my miracles that exist only truly— right now.

I pray I learn to savor every little “bit” of life I’m given and that, along the way, my soul carries those bits into eternity.

May my daughters’ fairies live forever, in my heart, and in hers.
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