Time travel.

I have a secret.

Don’t tell anyone.

But, I just traveled through time.

I may have messed up the space-time continuum.  I arrived in 2013 and saw this.

I don’t know how it happened.  The perfection of “Hangin’ Tough,” “End of the Road,” and whatever song 98 degrees sang suddenly collided.

For this catastrophe…I am truly sorry.

I don’t know what happened.

All I remember is being huge and overly pregnant and then 12 hours of labor, 4 hours of pushing, and a 30 minute emergency c-section later…I gave birth to perfection.

But, here’s the crazy thing.  That just happened…like yesterday.  I’m sure of it.

And then today, I found myself in a haze of chaos.  I was walking with what felt like a sack of potatoes sitting on my hip. But, no…the thing was yelling, babbling, and hitting my face.  I vaguely remember…but yes…I think I gave birth to the handsome little dude I was carrying.

Yes.  It must be true…he called me “Mama,” hit my face, and threw up on me.

In the chaos, though, I looked down and found myself calling a little girl, Iz.

Iz.

Short of Isabelle.

But, no…it can’t be the same Isabelle I gave birth to.

Because this Isabelle was all grown up.

The chub from her hands had suddenly gone.

The roundness of her face and chubby cheeks replaced with features of a kid.

A kid.

No more fluffy butt from a diaper sandwiched in a onesie.

No more rolls of baby fat on toddler legs.

No more of the toddler wobble….the hallmark of first walkers…looking like a sailor that was 3 drinks in…

A kid.

The closer I looked though…it was her.

The little girl I fell in love with.

I recognized the eyes that looked like her Daddy’s.

I recognized the perfect puckered lips I used to kiss a million times a day that smelled of sweet milk.

As she shot me a killer smile…all I could see was a the baby I loved.

But, no..it wasn’t.

The baby I brought home…what seemed like yesterday…is a baby no more.

And it feels like it just happened.

It feels like I just traveled through time….

One moment I’m changing nappies and singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and the next she’s showing me how to use my Ipad and taking requests in the car to hear “Taylor Swift” for the billionth time.

Where did the time go?

What in the hell have I been doing?

I have really tried to be an “in the present” kind of mom.

I am guilty of using my nanny, Mr. Tele Vision, all too often.

And when he’s not available, Ms. I. Pad, steps in.

But, I have read and read books over and over again.

I have played the Princess Cupcake game, Hello Kitty Bingo…

I have built forts.

I have colored and created masterpieces.

I have kissed boo boos, wiped tear stained faces, and band-aided imaginary scrapes.

I have been the back up dancer to her daily music performances (and damn…I still got it).

I have been chased and caught her as we collapse in a fit of giggles.

I have hidden and counted to a 10 and excitedly yelled,”Ready or not…here I come!”

I have loved her more deeply than I ever thought possible.

I have prayed for her harder and more desperately than I ever knew I needed to.

I have had the privilege of watching her grow up.

And yet…I don’t know when it happened.

I didn’t realize how quickly time passes when you are in the heart of your life.

The heart…the truth of my life…my marriage..my children…the greatest gifts I could have ever been given.

There were moments where time stood still and minutes felt like hours…hours felt like eternity.

The times I was overly tired from lack of sleep of a newborn…wondering if it would ever get easier.

The times I was so anxious to “get over” a stage…the zombie exhaustion of having a newborn…the terrible twos…the challenging threes…

And now…I’m sending off my overly sass-a-riffic 4 year old to pre-Kindergarten.

The emotions are great even though it may not be “real” school yet.

Because this has been a fantastic summer as a family of four.

We have lived our lives so fully and each passing day we treasure because we don’t know what our lives will look like a year from now.

So, as I send off my 4 year old little “big” girl…I find myself thanking time.

I’m thanking Father Time for each of the hard stages I never thought I’d make it through.

I’m thanking Time for the hours I sat holding my girl when she just didn’t want to be put down.

I’m thanking Time for the tasks I’ve let her do that take 3 times as long…but that sandwich making or cookie baking are memories I’ll cherish forever.

I’m thanking Time  the hours upon hours we sat snuggled under covers in the early morning hours watching cartoons…as I let her lay in my neck nook and I engraved each memory of her smell, the softness of her skin, and the smoothness of her hair.

Although I ache for the days of before…although I find it difficult to believe that we are four years into this parenthood journey…although the hours and days and years have felt like it’s gone at lightning’s pace…

I’m thanking Time…most importantly..for continuing to pass.

Because it’s in the passing I am reminded that every.single.day is a treasure.

Every day that passes and turns into weeks that will morph into years…are a great privilege.

I am humbled that I get to see the baby I cradled in my arms grow up into the strong willed, creative, Karaoke loving 4 year old before me.

It’s a gift.

And I will cherish the time I have been given…and pray for more of these timeless treasures.

Because I know….in the very near future…I will be in another haze of chaos…another first day of school, sending her off to college, watching her walk down the aisle.

But, I will always see her perfection when I look into her eyes, see her beautiful smile…I’ll be transported back to the moment I first met her…and know she will always be the baby girl I fell in love with.

She’ll always be my baby girl.