My daughter is about to celebrate her birthday in a few days. I always seem to get a bit emotional around birthdays. Logically, I know my daughter is growing older but, in my heart, she will always be my fresh newborn that they laid on my chest, swaddled so tightly in her soft, white receiving blanket. I couldn’t believe how something so small and vulnerable, begging me to love her and protect her from the world could be my greatest honor and privilege in life but she has been from that moment on.
This weekend she’ll turn 8-years-old and in a few weeks from now, she will be receiving the sacrament of her first holy communion. She is growing up so fast; it leaves my head spinning sometimes. She keeps changing and so does the dynamic of our relationship. I just want to hold on to her being little for a little while longer.
We spent all day Sunday shopping for the perfect white dress to mark this occasion of her growing up and me letting go. As we traipsed from one store to the next, looking at little white dresses, my heart was full. As she twirled in the small dresses of satin and silk, I couldn’t help but smile.
Seeing her standing there completely enamored with the reflection of herself in those gowns, it reminded me of what my own expression when I placed her in her tiny christening gown 8 not so long ago years must have looked like. I thought of the teeny little baby that she was then and how it felt like a beginning when I gently pulled the vintage silk gown over her wobbly little head and kissed each finger and toe as I pulled her arms through the openings of the gown. I remember the pride my heart felt when she rolled over for the very first time that morning.
And suddenly, we found the dress on this cold Sunday in February. There she stands; my beautiful almost 8-year-old beaming with her brand new front teeth as she looks at herself dressed from head to toe in a white that is as pure as the freshly driven snow that is falling on this cold winter afternoon. She is truly beautiful and suddenly, I am propelled into the future. In the full-length mirror of the bridal shop, I see her dressed all in virginal white, now she is in her wedding gown. My heart stops.
“Mommy, I want this one. I feel like a princess.”
Magically, I am shaken from my daydream and transported back to this moment, where I am only starting to let go and she is just starting to grow up and I am so happy to be here, in this moment, with her.
All the big moments in our life so far have been cloaked in white. The memories that I will keep in my heart while my little girl slips through my fingers all revert back to those tiny moments. These tiny moments add up to our life and I wouldn’t want to miss any of it. These pieces of cloth made of white will tell our story someday. Some things are worth preserving and keeping vividly.
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