Last week, as Ellie and I walked out of a store, she reached out to grab my hand. That is certainly nothing out of the ordinary, but for some reason, as we walked to the car holding hands I suddenly felt a pit in my stomach as I questioned, "When did Megan and Luke stop holding my hands at a store?" (I still habitually reach out to grab their hand if I'm in a parking lot with them, and they oblige me for the quick stretch amidst cars.)
I've been pondering the hand-holding question for a week now.
But let me explain.
When my first two children went to preschool (for two years no less) I was thrilled. With Megan and Luke, I always seemed to be in a rush to move them onto the next stage. Diapers to underwear, tricycles to bikes, cribs to beds, and home to preschool. I was the excited one. I was the overly-anxious one. I was the one who couldn't wait to see a new milestone met.
This morning as Drew and I walked out of the preschool, Drew crying for toys he couldn't touch, and me blinking away tears at leaving a baby of mine that no longer is, a mom and dad stopped me and asked if I'd take a picture of them with their little girl. I knew it was their oldest child. I could tell. I flashed back to what seemed like yesterday, when Mike and I did the same thing; took Megan to preschool together when she was just THREE years old.
I wanted to give this young couple all sorts of advice. I wanted to tell them not to be smiling so big, not to look so proud, and not to be so cheery. Instead, I looked through the camera with blurry eyes and snapped a permanent reminder for them of a day they will always remember.
It was bittersweet capturing a moment for someone else, I didn't want captured for myself.
Even though Luke let me plant a kiss on his cheek after administering a test to him yesterday at school, Megan on the other hand politely requested on Monday morning, "Please let me walk to the junior high bus stop by myself."
I think I'm learning this principle all too well.