A kiss on the forehead, a caress on the cheek. Tuck the covers up over her shoulder and around down, under her chin.
She has her flashlight, the closet door is closed.
One last look around the room… “I love you.” Then I shut the door.
But not all the way, of course.
How many times did I go through this routine?
I was always too tired to appreciate it. Exhausted and weary…
I didn’t really comprehend that one night was going to be the last night.
But it was.
One night, I tucked her in, she smiled up at me with dreamy eyes, half mast.
Then I watched the glowing sun, sinking so slowly on the horizon, the colors were spectacular and vivid and I thought it just couldn’t get any more beautiful and precious.
It seemed only a few moments.
The stars appeared in the darkness, and I felt an ache in my heart and a lump in my throat as a premonition, warning me of change.
“They grow up fast,” the old ladies warned, when they had arrived with baby presents. “Cherish every moment,” they had chided when she was noisy at church. “It can’t last forever,” they had smiled through gritted teeth, waiting to pick up their own kid from driver’s ed.
They were right.
When the sun rose the next morning, the birds sand a joyful song and the world awoke to a brand new day.
And she was all grown up.