I sit here at a coffee shop, typing on my computer.
Just outside the window, there’s a mom with a little boy on her lap. He sips his chocolate milk from a straw and leans against her, the sunshine making his blonde curls shine in the morning light.
She runs her fingers through his hair, then tickles his back, making him laugh.
He twists to the side, and she kisses his forehead.
Then, in a flash, he slides off her lap and runs around the patio, a constant motion, as most toddlers are.
An elderly man and his dog walk by, and the man stops and smiles at the boy. He says something to the mom and she answers, smiling too.
He’s probably asking her how old her son is, or maybe he’s telling her how cute he is (because he’s precious). The boy runs in circles and the man watches, his eyes almost misty. Maybe the man is recollecting when he was just a boy, or maybe he’s thinking about his own children if he has any,
or maybe he’s contemplating the circle of life and how fast time flies.
Either way, I can relate. I’m noticing lately that with Luke and Katie well past the toddler stage (12 and 14), whenever I see babies or little ones like this, I can’t help but remember how precious those times were.
The mom just turned and looked at me through the window.
We smile at each other.
Maybe she’s thinking how nice it would be to have time alone at a coffee shop like I have–just me and my big cup of coffee and my laptop.
Maybe she’s longing for the day she’ll have a couple of hours to herself too.
And yet here I am looking at her on the other side of the glass, missing the moments she’s experiencing right now.
(Her son just crawled back up on her lap.)
I want to go outside and sit down next to her and say
Enjoy every second, because even if it doesn’t always feel like it, this time is magical.
I want to tell her that what everyone says is true: it really does go faster than you think. And on the days when your son is crying and you feel like all you do is hold him and carry him around and clean up after him…
hold him closer,
and kiss his little forehead more,
and savor the smell of his sunshine hair and the sound of his voice and the feel of his tiny hands in yours.
Because sooner than you know it,
he’ll be 12 or 14,
and he’ll be too big to crawl up on your lap
or snuggle against you while he drinks chocolate milk
in the morning light
on the patio of a coffee shop.
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