A trip to the mall usually nets me a well deserved ice blended coffee drink, and the children are treated to a romp on the mall playground. So that I can sit and enjoy said coffee concoction. While catching my breath.
A win win situation.
The play area is enclosed with circular booth type seating. I station myself by the exit, in case Jensen tries to make a break for it. And yes, in a past visit, I’ve had to leap over a row of parents to catch him. Before he reached the threshold to Victoria’s Secret.
Where most certainly I would have had to scoop him up and clasp my hand over his mouth before he began screaming, “BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES, MOMMY!” Instinctively, I just know these things.
On this particular day, I planted myself firmly on the naugahyde and watched my children take their shoes off in preparation for play. While Cailey and Jensen scampered off, Emme came over, shoes in hand, and plunked down beside me.
“Mom, can I have some of your coffee drink?”
In silence, we sat close, watching the two younger siblings making public spectacles of themselves.
“Why don’t you go play?” She loves this playground. We’ve been coming here since she was a baby.
She just shrugged her small shoulders. And continued watching her younger sister throw herself down the slide upside down. I turned and looked long at my daughter, whose profile nearly reached my own. And it hit me.
She’s growing up. She thinks this is a “baby” playground. This tall child of mine is hovering between little girl and young lady. One minute, she’s running around the house holding fast to her beloved puppy dog and blanket, talking in a baby voice, and then she’s spending 30 minutes in the bathroom trying to get her hair to look “just right.”
“Are you too big for this playground, Emme?” She sighed, and nodded her head. Then she slipped her hand into mine and leaned her head on my shoulder.
A moment I wanted to bottle up and hold close to my breast forever.
“Emme, never stop holding my hand in public. Okay?”
And with that, she let go of my hand and ran to jump atop an oversized sphere. And the truth is, some day she will let go of my hand in public. And she’ll be embarrassed to let me nuzzle her neck with a kiss.
Most every day brings a new challenge, it seems. And there are days I don’t think I’m going to make it to the next. Without the aid of some really good medication.
So, I hang onto these playground moments. And savor every second I have with my children while they are young.