Four years and change ago C was all belly. All belly and sweet cherubic rolls of fat. For the first four weeks of her life she was a skinny little thing, then overnight she chubbed out.
I was the cutest thing ever.
I’m not sure how, but until last week I hadn’t really noticed that she has shed most of that baby fat, growing into a lithe beautiful little girl. I can at times spot a trace of her toddler self in the dimples on the back of her fists or in the roundness of her cheek, reddened after a nap. For the rest, she’s all little girl.
It makes me sad at times to realize that I can’t stop time, hold her back. She starts Kindergarten in the fall, and while that’s still for little ones, I know that middle school and then high school are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from that.
I see her bright smile and trusting eyes and I want to hurt the first person who will break her heart. I want to shield her from all the harshness and unfairness of the world because I know how trusting and loving she is. I don’t want her to ever see the ugly before the beautiful. I want her to always see the good in people, to believe that anything is possible, to trust that being happy is all that matters.
Yesterday she slipped on a two piece bathing suit which I had thought would be cute with all its ruffles and bows. She posed for me and I froze. It wasn’t one of those cute toddler bikinis, showing tons of adorable baby belly and baby fat. It was… a bikini, that looked like a bikini, and it made me want to rush out to the store to buy her a slew of one piece suits to keep her a bit more covered up for the summer.
I’m glad I didn’t ask her to take it off though.
Because as I slathered on the sunscreen I had to cover that bare belly and under my hand it was still rounded and soft and felt exactly like that infant belly that I so lovingly coated in lotion after her bath.
She’s tall, she’s lanky, she reasons, analyzes, and questions like an elementary schoolgirl, but she’s still my baby. She’s still little.