Holding Ava

*note: This article originally appeared in Wings of Hope Magazine. Ava is now one year old. This post is to remind her mother that time flies.

I held my friend’s granddaughter yesterday. She is eight weeks old, chubby and happy with big curious eyes taking in the brand new world. With the wisdom of one so new from God, she regards everything without judgment yet, just taking it all in.

I love tiny babies, the newer the better. I love the baby smell, the downy hair, the soft as silk skin. I pull her against my chest and look deep into her eyes, and stick my tongue out. She smiles and sticks hers out at me. We are playing.

I want to tell her mother, a girl I’ve known since she herself was a baby, to quit work, leave the dishes, forget the laundry. Just sit and hold your baby and play, I want to say. She’s growing up every day. This time is gone in a flash, you can never get it back. Just sit and hold your baby and play.

Real life doesn’t work that way, of course. Onesies need washed, dinner needs cooked, work must be done so that bills can be paid. Mom needs a break now and then, too. And no matter how many people tell you that time flies, you never learn until it’s gone anyway. But still, I say it—just hold her. Just hold your baby and play, because tomorrow she’ll be gone.

My babies are nearly grown now, but I haven’t learned the lesson. There are clothes on the floor and science experiments growing in glasses in their rooms, homework undone, curfews broken. I find myself chanting at times “just a few more years!” I’m wishing away their teens over dishes and clutter. I don’t listen when a wiser mom with grown children says to me “Just play. Just stop worrying about the house and the homework and enjoy your children. They’re growing up every day. This time is gone in a flash and you can never get it back.”

And that is why, I believe, grandchildren are the most precious gift that we’re given. Because then we know. Time is gone in a flash. You can never get it back.

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