“Pick me up,” said my soon to be nine year old daughter. She looked up at me and smiled.

It struck me that she hadn’t asked me to do that in a long time, and…that I didn’t know if I could. Something about the way she looked at me told me that she wondered the same –

Mom, can you still hold me?

Time is funny that way….you don’t notice it stealing from you until every so often, you do. 

I mean…I could, technically, pick her up. If, say, she were injured or in danger, I have no doubt that my mom-strength would kick in. I’d be able to lift her straight over my head if I needed to protect her.

Even in a non-emergency I guess I could…if I remembered to lift with my knees and to brace myself, but the truth is…

My baby…isn’t a baby anymore. 

I wondered when the last time was that I had easily and mindlessly hoisted her onto my hip while I multitasked.

The thief called Time is so stealth –  it lulls us to sleep with our busyness while it ever-so-gently eases our babies from our hips…untangles their fingers from our hair…and presents us with new versions of our most treasured beings.

We love them just as much, but we can’t help but search their faces for the babies they’ve replaced.

Mom, can you still hold me?

I was struck by the desire to drink her in…to notice everything about her…

To hold her…

Here, now…like this.

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