Often, we are so sad to see our little ones getting bigger.
Nowadays, a hashtag says it all. #Stopgrowing, we beg.
But seeing this particular hashtag used by numerous people struck a chord for me. A part of me too felt sad at the thought of my baby getting bigger – yet, the larger part of me couldn’t believe that when searching on Instagram, over 1.3 million people had used this hashtag compared to #neverstopgrowing, a measly 42K.
Time moves fast, we realize, especially the older we get.
I recall snuggling my baby girl atop her nursing pillow like it was yesterday, her tiny body growing day by day until her head and toes reached each side – my body starving for sleep then, but my heart taking such comfort as I watched her slowly but surely transforming into the happy girl she is today; the pillow, now tucked behind our rocking chair as she jumps out of my arms, unlike the baby of just a year and half ago.
And while I understand the feeling of wanting to stop time, stop the growth, keep her little forever, I want her to know one of the most important aspects of life she could ever learn: No matter how old we become, we never, ever stop growing.
I want her to know, as I have discovered along this journey, that the most important growth cannot be measured.
As friends encouraged me to “grow myself through inspirational reading”, I was reminded that even when we reach our 16 to 18 year old self, when we no longer grow physically, the person inside is forever expanding.
Immersing myself in the teachings of Dr. Wayne Dyer, over and over I’d hear him talk about how we are no longer the “person” that occupied our baby body, toddler body, teenage body, middle-aged body…And even just a few minutes ago, we are not the same.
I distinctly remember as a kid seeing my family members at the holidays. “Oh you are getting SO big!” they’d gush, and I’d look in the mirror later and wonder what the heck they were talking about. Because to me, I looked the same; felt the same on the inside. Was I really growing that much?
I realize now that even “the same on the inside” is never the case. While our younger years certainly give us growth for others to see before their eyes, this kind of “forever growth” is what makes life so special. It’s the reason we’re here.
My dear little one, someday I hope you will understand…
Forever growth is learning to love unconditionally, without reservation. It is recognizing that the love and the light within us is truly all there is, regardless of the anger and hate and violence that surround us. (Love, the only cure for our brutality.)
Forever growth is learning to hush the negative voices in our minds that haunt us day in and day out, telling us that we’re dumb or that we’re not good enough. (Quiet, voices. Please.)
Forever growth is learning to forgive, no matter how badly we’re hurting. Not only forgiving those who have wronged us, or the negative events in our lives which hurt so badly, but learning to forgive ourselves. That sometimes, our best doesn’t have to be enough. Because no matter what, we are enough. Always.
Forever growth is not giving up on the dream or vision we have inside, our reason for breathing each day. Our reason for being here. (Not an accident you’re here.)
Forever growth is learning to let go of what other people think of us. Being true to who we are and having 100% confidence in it.
It is knowing that even if we are having a bad day, we have the power to stop the day from affecting us. We can choose to take our day in a different direction.
It is fully enjoying what we’ve got in the moment, acknowledging that our past is done, and the future is always now.
And most importantly, it is knowing that someday when we are no longer beside our children physically, even still, they will grow beside us…
Because forever growth, like our love, never ends.
Just the other day, (now weeks or months ago), my daughter opened the cabinet and pulled out my old Winnie the Pooh alarm clock that my mom gave me during my childhood. I didn’t think much of it at the time other than, Oh I forgot about that clock.
That night, I looked down at the floor and saw that the hands on the clock had stopped. The clock that had measured so many moments from there to here – all of the old “me’s” that were once my mother’s baby. The clock that went right into the cupboard when I went to sleep in my baby’s room so my husband could get some rest in our bedroom without the tick, tick, tick in his ear, of time drifting away.
As I watch my baby run and laugh now as happy as can be, I know that someday my arms will ache for those sleepless nights where I snuggled her in the dark. That I will yearn to feel her soft baby skin against my arms, and to breathe in her baby kisses…but instead of allowing the sadness of life passing by to overcome me, it is the journey of accompanying her growth that I will treasure.
Because my baby is forever growing, and the beauty in that, there are no words to describe it, other than expressing to her this:
I love you and the person you are becoming. Grow, my dear little one, and never, ever stop.