The girl’s preschool had their Valentine Tea today and I was sitting on the floor, next to my best friend Angie and we had our four girls surrounding us. Except Parker kept moving from my lap to her lap and back to mine. (I love that I have a friend who I’m raising girls alongside. Who will be a second mom to my girls and me to hers.) And at one point I whispered to Ang that when I look at Parker I love that I still see a baby sometimes. Because of course most of the time she’s a rambunctious three year old that at times talks like she’s 15. And cuts her own hair. And has been potty trained since before she was two. And who’s BFF is her sister. Oh she is my sweet girl.

But for as big as she’s getting I do love that I catch glimpses of her babyhood still. And it’s just so fitting that the same moment I articulated something to my friend that I’ve been thinking about for a while, she crawled up in my lap, in the middle of a loud magic show, and fell sound asleep. And since I couldn’t see her, all snuggled in my lap, I handed my very heavy camera over to Bailey and asked her to take a photo of her sister. I was just praying it was in focus. And I never dreamed of the sweetness she was about to capture!

Do you see that baby? That sweet baby girl? The one that used to never want me to put her down? The one that lived in the sling and was with me ALL THE TIME? The one that walked early and talked late? The one that allowed Bailey to become a sister? Do you see her?

Because I sure do. I don’t see my crazy three year old that never sits still in that photo. And I certainly don’t see the little girl that cut her hair AGAIN this morning and now has a nice tuft of inch long hair in the middle-top of her head. I don’t see the girl that doesn’t listen or says “teasing words” to her sister or jumps on the couch or is the pickiest eater alive.

I just see my baby. My sweet baby. The one that taught me I could survive extreme exhaustion. The one that showed me how much my heart could love. The one that stole my heart the second I saw her big dimple just moments after her birth.

And when I think about how fast the girls are growing up I always think, “well it’s ok, b/c I still have my little Grayman.”

But then I was going through images from our day at The City Museum this week, when I took just him and Parker while Bailey was in school, and I found this:

I was sitting on the floor in this giant room we had all to ourselves watching him and Parker run and run and run. When I noticed he left DogDog laying on the ground and was suddenly running without him. And as I watched my little man run away I realized this was the beginning. The start of him growing up. Leaving. He takes that dog everywhere. Everywhere. So this was just such a symbolic moment for me. Watching him leave his biggest love behind.

And then today I realized he’d out grown his first pair of walking shoes.

(And yes, I skipped the Stride Rights this time and went straight for the cute b/c he’s the third kid and the arch will be fine in his foot as long as he’s cute right?)

It shouldn’t be a big deal that his foot has grown, I mean, he’s been walking for months now. I should be HAPPY he’s growing. Which I am! Especially b/c he’s becoming a SKINNY little thing! But again, this was just one more sign my babies are growing up.

So I’m going to celebrate these moments with them. Cheer them on as they grow and change. Make sure I’m never more sad than I am happy at their development into little people.

But I’m also going to hang on tight to the moments I still see my babies. Hold them a bit longer knowing the days they fit in my lap are limited. Hug them tighter knowing they won’t always give me hugs so willingly. Take their hand when they offer it because one day soon they won’t want to hold mine. I’m going to silently cling to these moments because I’m out of babies. Our family is complete. And as excited as I am to be OUT of the time of my life with three under three, I know I’m going to miss it. So these tiny moments? When my three year old falls sound asleep on my lap?  I will ignore the fact that my legs burn and tingle from sitting for too long and instead sit a little longer and ask someone to take a photo. So I can always remember. My baby.