I hold you in my lap now, and wonder how you ever fit curled up in my arms, with your long legs that reach to the floor, and slender arms that can squeeze the tightest hugs. After bathtime is the best with hair sticking up everywhere that smells of No More Tears shampoo, and a belly just starting to lose that toddler roundness, and wrinkly toes and a shiny clean face that I know will only last until the next jelly sandwich...if that long. And it takes extra long to comb your hair and brush your teeth and get on your pajamas because I am listening to you rattle off stories and questions and songs and happiness and right now, you still fit in my lap, head tucked underneath my chin, warm and cuddly, and full of warmth.
And it's in these moments that I understand what parents mean when they say they don't want their kids to grow up. Because of course they want their kids to grow up, to learn and see and laugh and become. But I think maybe we mean that we don't want our kids to stop making up stories, and being proud that they picked up their toys without being asked. We don't want them to look in the sky and see clouds instead of dragons and trains and swords. I don't want him to look in the mirror and ever doubt that the person he sees is beautiful and wonderful and special and loved and created by God. I don't want him to stop giving me hugs and saying I love you and wanting to know who I think the bestest superhero ever is. I don't want you to realize that I don't have all the answers, and I can't fix all your problems, and that sometimes you will need more than a kiss and a band aid. Maybe what we really mean is that we want you to grow up; we just want you to do so without losing all of the child that you are now.
So while you are waiting for me to read your bedtime story, just know that I am treasuring these moments with you, and I am loving watching you grow and become the most amazing person I have ever met. And when I make you promise that you will never be too old to hug your momma, well, just count on it that I'm planning to hold you to that no matter how big you are. Because you may grow to be too big to sit in my lap one day, but your whole life will fit in my heart forever, and you will never outgrow that.