The swing is from Walmart and is well worn with a tattered green canopy and faded upholstery, but it's heaven to me and the girl who is the love of my life. For who knows how many brief moments, we lay there, her gangly knees pulled up close to my body and her spindly little arm thrown casually over my shoulder and we sway back and forth to the rhythm of the creaky swing. Her head is so close to mine it's nothing but blinding sunlight reflecting off her pearly, white skin, and a soft nose mushed against mine. I can't even tell where my hair ends and hers begins as they weave together in golden strands, half hiding the shining, sapphire eyes that smile at me with unbridled joy. Presently, the babe in my womb sleeps and the malaise associated with pregnancy is abated , so it truly is just her and I intertwined together under a fleecy, Christmas blanket as April's sunshine battles with the last, cold fingers of winter's winds. I relish the feel of her soft skin--her cheeks, her feet, her sweet, little arms as she wiggles and giggles there next to me. I've been commanded to sleep but I can't miss this precious moment with her so I keep my eyes open and memorize every sensation while her body is still small and so eager to curl against mine. The smell of freshly cut grass sends a hint of garlic wafting through the air and the birds twitter over the sound of the lawnmower as my husband roars slowly by us. The sun is so warm against my skin that I briefly consider removing the blanket. She continues to wiggle and squirm next to me while I hold her tightly in order that she not tumble down from our precious haven. I know this can't last forever, but I cross my fingers as the seconds tick by and we continue to lay there peacefully. As if the mood can sense my thoughts, the magic is broken by a three-year-old curiosity and attention span. She flies off the swing as quick as a grasshopper and bounds down to the ground below to swaddle her baby doll. Before I can even sit up, her little feet are flying, bare against the grass and the dandelions and her hair trails behind in long feathery strands signaling the path she's taken. She dances along with the butterflies and I can't tell whose dance is more enticing--hers, or that of the sun as it gleefully plays off her yellow hair. Now, she throws herself onto the ground, relishing the feel of freshly cut grass against her skin and before I can blink, she's up again in a flash red ruffles bouncing against tiny knees.
Soon, she'll be grown. Soon she won't be small enough to fit side by side with me on a swing. Soon, she won't need to curl her little body against mine to dwell in my safety. Soon, she'll be independent and mature. But for now, for these precious moments that will turn into days, months and then years, she is small and still needs me in the little ways she never will again. For now, I can still kiss away boo boos and help her put dollies to sleep. For now, I'm still welcome to sing her to sleep at night and to sometimes spoon-feed her bites of dinner. For now, she still tells me everything and I try very hard not to be too busy to drink in every, dear word. These are the moments that will forever be photographs in my memory and I realize that they will be indelible in her heart as well. These are the times that will help to form the woman she will become. As much as I want them to last forever, I also realize that time will not be stopped. The more I drink in moments like this with my daughter, the sweeter the memories will be for her as well.