Since having kids, I've played a mental game during all the wonderful sweet moments I have with them. I'll pause for a second and prompt myself to take a mental snapshot of the moment. I tell myself to focus really hard and remember all the details so that I will be able to recall the memory later on. A sweet hug, the smell of her hair, silly way she did this or that; the list of moments with my children that I try to imprint on my brain is infinite. I'm constantly afraid that the moment will slip by and be gone forever. Afraid I'll never be able to pull up that wonderful memory again.
And truthfully, I have never been able to recall all those tiny little moments, even if at the time I might have forced myself to memorize it second by second and inch by inch. Sure, I can bring up all the firsts and the frequently talked about milestones. Those things are easily recalled but it's the fleeting sweet moments that I've tried so hard to hold on to that just don't ever seem to come back to me.
Last night I was sitting with Arabella in her room for her bedtime routine. She was snuggled up under her little blanket on my lap with her "nana" (pacifier) death gripped in one hand, her other hand holding her sippy cup of milk to her mouth. The night light allowed us to steal glances at one another. She looked up periodically at me while I sang her bedtime songs. She kicked her leg up and plopped her chubby little 16 month old foot in the palm of my hand. She giggled because her feet are ticklish and I giggled because her chubby little 16 month old foot still barely fits in the palm of my hand. It's a beautiful little foot. I felt so much sentiment to this little foot in my palm that I started playing my mental game of memorizing how adorable it is, what it feels like, how Bella sounds as she laughs, the way the light shadows one side of her face, how her freshly washed and still damp hair smells like coconut; and on and on I'm trying to memorize the details so that some day in the future I can remember this precious moment and relive it's amazing beauty. Some day when she isn't 16 months old.
Then it hits me like a ton of bricks. I never remember these moments. As hard as I try they don't come to me months later in the vivid detail that I see them at the moment when they are happening. Suddenly I realize that I'm wasting my time trying desperately to memorize these special moments. Instead of trying to file away the memory for future enjoyment I should simply enjoy the moment IN the moment.
Having had this minor revelation sitting there in my youngest daughter's bedroom, I smile down at her and she glances upward to me letting the milk dribble down the side of her mouth. She smiles again and kicks her little foot up and then back in my hand. This time I just focus on enjoying every little morsel of that chubby 16 month old foot in the palm of my hand. It's precious and delicious and I'll never forget it.