I blinked. They told me not to, but I did. Who can stop it, anyhow? None of us, that’s who.
I blinked and your pudgy bare toes gripped tight to blades of green grass as you stood to your feet for the first time. I stared at you in disbelief from my knees, pausing from my task of plucking snap peas from their vine. Why did I blink?
I blinked and you clung to Daddy in that hammock with one hand, the other hand pointing to the clouds as planes soared across the blue sky, looping far above your head of white blonde curls. You shrieked in delight as you watched them.
I blinked and that test window blinked back at me. Timer. Timer. Timer. “Pregnant”. And then there was your brother.
I blinked and you timidly walked into the hospital room holding your Auntie’s hand. You approached slowly, taking in the sight of your mama on that strange bed in a silly gown, holding that tiny bundle of uncertainty. You kept your distance. But not for long.
Because I blinked, and then you were best friends.
I blinked and the two of you spent the entire day in the garden helping me dig and pull and plant and nurture. I blinked and you helped me pick of our bounty, warm red strawberry juice slipping down your chins.
I blinked and your little brother stared back at me from that crib, “I wub you,” the words slipping from his mouth for the very first time as I kissed him goodnight.
I blinked and again that plastic window blinked back. Timer. Timer. Timer. “Not Pregnant”. But I knew. And the next morning it agreed, “Pregnant”.
I blinked as I watched you and your brother bound through piles of fall leaves, your laughter mixing a melody with the birds’ songs from the trees. I blinked back the tears and the doubt, how would we do this again so soon?
I blinked at that screen illuminating the dark room, your grandma sitting next to me, us both watching to see. “I’m calling your doctor,” the nurse spoke. I blinked and the tears slipped down my cheeks.
I blinked and your baby brother came much sooner than I anticipated. Time stood still with him nestled in my arm, three days in that room just us, me getting to know him, and coming to see that we needed him. Yes, time stood still, but then I blinked.
I blinked and you and your brother held our tiny baby, and I knew it. In no time you’d be best friends.
I blinked and our whole world changed. From city to mountains. A whole new world for us to make our own. I blinked and it became just that—home.
I blinked and again there was new life in my womb. But then I blinked again and oh how I wish I hadn’t, because then that life was gone.
I blinked, and time went on. But our baby would remain in that time, those three days, until we meet again.
I blinked and your baby brother licked chocolate icing from his birthday candles. I wrapped myself warm in a blanket as the three of you bounded across rocks and slipped toes into icy river water.
I blinked back tears as I told you that I felt like a bad mom. I had yelled too much, I told you. “It’s ok,” you spoke back without even a moment to think. “I will always forgive you when you do something wrong” you told me.
I blinked and you became this little human who somehow understands love and grace and beauty on much deeper levels than I do.
They tell us not to blink. “It’ll be over before you know it.” They say. But how do we stop this constant reflex, a counting of time from birth until grave, a rhythmic reaction alongside of heartbeat and inhale and exhale. We cannot.
So I will keep blinking and you will keep growing and we’ll keep doing this dance of counting time and making time count. Because one day those words from friends and family and strangers will ring true. I will blink and it will be over. Only it won’t. Because we counted time. We slowed it and savored it and told it who was boss. And its treasures will always abide in our hearts—yours and mine—for forever’s keeping. So keep on making time so sweet, little one. Let’s make this business of blinking a sweet legacy of time well spent.