Catherine has highlights.
We spent Saturday afternoon at the salon getting her first real grownup hairstyle. By the time the hairdresser was done, Catherine had morphed from teenager to young lady. Basil and I are amazed at what a few finely tuned swipes of color can do. She looks a little older, and the new tints call attention to her beautiful green eyes.
Wasn’t it just yesterday that we played tea party in the living room? (I was sure she was destined for restaurant work, given the care she lavished on the table setup.)
And wasn’t she just toddling around the house after me, eager to “fold” laundry, asking if my bras were to catch butterflies? (True story.)
Or asking to help me pull the “comfortable” up on the bed each morning?
I’m sure it was only last week that I was zipping her into a snowsuit and boots so we could make snow angels and go sledding.
Just a month or so ago that I was vacuuming glitter off the floor after a marathon session of glueing. Or cleaning paintbrushes after she created yet another masterpiece at the easel.
Or I was arriving at the Mead School Child Care Center to find her covered in shaving cream, splashing in the water table, testing her mettle in the climbing room or running through the sprinkler.
Surely it wasn’t too long ago that she helped me frost Grandma’s birthday cake, that she was shrieking with glee as “Gampa” chased her, or we were reminding her to “do nice” as she walloped poor long-suffering Sam, one of my parents’ dogs, while trying to pet him.
And I swear it wasn’t more than a few months ago that we were sitting in a pew at church just before Easter, listening to her tell us that Lent was the stuff I clean out of the dryer.
We can’t possibly be watching her cross the threshold into womanhood. There are some perfectly good Winnie the Pooh sleepers to be worn, silly songs to be sung, face paints that haven’t dried up. And stories to snuggle up and read together.
I was smug when all those other mothers warned me how quickly the time would go. I silently vowed to mark it all, experience it to the fullest and remember each and every detail.
How I failed to hold on to each fleeting second, so quickly they passed in a sea of bottles and diapers, meals to be cooked, errands and chores to be done.
So it’s a new chapter, Sweet 16 just six months away. With driving lessons, boyfriends and college on the horizon. Soon it will be time to let her fly free.
Cling to these moments, my inner voice pleads.