Last night, P. fell asleep hard after a day of wading through powdery snow drifts higher than her head in some spots.
I went in to sing to her, the same song I've sang to her almost every night for probably a year: Voi Che Sapete from the Marriage of Figaro.
P. was asleep. I started to sing anyway, and she shifted in her bed to reach for my hand and bring it up close to her face.
The feel of her hot breath on my hand reminded me so much of those many moments during her first two years when she'd fall asleep on my chest as an infant or splayed across me as a toddler.
I choked a little on the words of the song. Experienced parents, especially those whose children are grown or so close to grown that they can feel the end of an era coming acutely, will tell you to appreciate the everyday. Sometimes that refrain is tiresome. Rebuttals have been written, even.
But let me tell you I didn't stumble over the lyrics because I think I missed something. I appreciated the heck out of P.'s first two years and then the much harder third and fourth years where we two were suddenly a little more tired and a little more stressed at the end of the day.
I choked because I swear I breathed in magical mundane moments like oxygen and they still came and went just like every other moment.
How many goodnight kisses now? How many long afternoons with a baby slumped sleeping in my arms? How many 'I love you, mamas'?
How many adventures have come and gone even though I grabbed them for all they were worth, taking photographs with my camera and with my head?
P. will be four on Valentine's Day. Appreciate the moments, the parents and the grandparents and the great-grandparents say. It's a good reminder, and not really so tiresome a refrain.