Every morning, Caroline used to emerge from her bed and in her sleep-frowzled state, warm-skinned and bed-headed, come barreling at me, arms open wide. She'd jump into my arms and I'd scoop her up, where she'd lay her head on my shoulder for the first thirty seconds of her busy, busy day. Sweetness.
Then I noticed that some mornings, she'd head for the couch instead, like her siblings. Maybe I'd be exercising, or maybe she ... dare I say it? ... was starting to outgrow the habit.
This morning I realized it had been days and days since my last morning jump-snuggle. Like many of my babies' "lasts," I didn't recognize the "last" until it was too late to mourn, except in retrospect.
You know all those grandmas who stop you in the parking lot when your kids are yielding to a meltdown and you look as frazzled and worn as you feel, and say to you, "Enjoy it while they're young -- they grow so fast?" As if it's the most original thought known to man?
They're totally right.