So big and so small


“She wants you.” he said, standing in the doorway.

My body groaned. I grumbled. Something about just wanting to rest. To sit. To read. Something about exhaustion and why won’t they just go to sleep. Something about such is the life of a mother, he said. Oh this motherhood.

But I got up. And I went to her. And in her big room, such a little girl, softly lit by night lights and softly streaming jazz, she sat there. And she wanted a hug.


Just the day before, I had offered a day of hugs. Stay home with me on this beautiful, sunny Friday, I offered. Or go to camp . I felt sure I knew what her answer would be and had already moved ahead to plan the next set of choices: zoo or park? Or maybe museum? What should we do with this lovely day we have to spend together?

3 friends

But she chose camp.

I nodded and I smiled and I packed her lunch and zipped up her swimsuit. And before camp, we went to the dentist where she sat on her own while they took x-rays and showed us, right there on the screen, her big teeth. There they were, hiding, tucked in right behind her baby teeth. Big teeth. They looked so big. And there they were. Right there.

And then we rushed off to camp and she and her things moved swiftly from me to her friends and camp counselors. So I adjusted the baby on my hip and we left. I dragged him to the grocery store and then to the park where the band sings and the toddlers dance and giggle. I wanted him to sit on my lap and snuggle with me while sweet guitar melodies settled softly around us. But he wanted to climb into the fountain.


All she wanted was a hug. So in the darkness, the soft light of night lights, I hugged. I kissed her forehead. I looked into her eyes, heavy with sleep and a weepiness I recognize as just wanting comfort and just needing rest. I waited for her to say something, but she didn’t. Maybe she didn’t know what to ask for. Maybe she didn’t want to ask. Maybe it had been a big couple of days and she had done big things, taken those big steps of becoming a big girl. And maybe, once all had settled and she had made it to the edge of sleep, it had all just felt so big.


Earlier that day, she had danced. We, her brother and Daddy and me, we sat on the black studio floor, our backs against the floor to ceiling mirror, her audience. And she smiled and waved and danced. The days when she wouldn’t make it more than five minutes through this class before collapsing into a puddle in our laps and joining us in the audience to watch her classmates, those days are so long ago. A memory now. And I hated those days. I got so angry. Just dance, I had urged her and pushed her and gotten angry at her. And yet…

girl on top of slide

After dance, a birthday party. There was not enough space for the adults in the venue so I hugged and kissed and I left and she stayed. I left and she stayed. She painted and danced and met princesses and ate pizza and I missed her.


It had all felt so big. Not too big. This is right, I know. This leaping and jumping and leaving and staying. Her life won’t happen right by my side. [Tweet “Her hands can’t reach for the clouds if they are clasped within mine.”] This is growing.


And her face radiates such beauty when she makes those leaps. Her eyes shine and her smile, oh that smile of look-what-I-just-did? I can’t get enough. She leaps with a grace and a beauty and a love of life that I’m still working on mastering. And I get the honor of watching her leap and live and make things beautiful. [Tweet “I get the honor of being the one she calls for at the end of the big, big day.”] When she completes her leap and lands solidly, confidently on the ground, I have the hug that allows her body to soften again.


Finally, she did ask. She asked that I stay. I promised I would stay until she fell asleep. So she rolled over and curled up as I sat on the edge of her bed. And sleep came quickly. So quickly that I think she was asleep long before I thought to lean over and peek. I tucked her blankets up around her chin and kissed her head and smoothed her hair and marveled that she could be so big and so small at exactly the same time.


  1. Such a powerful post! Thank you for sharing.

    Btw, found you via the social media challenge for #SITSblogging! 🙂
    Kelly @ A Side of Sweet recently posted..Healthy Lentil Walnut PâtéMy Profile

  2. This is so stunning Tricia. It is amazing watching them – so big and wanting to fill those shoes all at once and also still so small. I have to remind myself sometimes about that – that they really are just babies in so many ways.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Scenes from my weekend: Summer SolsticeMy Profile

    • Thank you, Christine! I have to remind myself too. Sometimes it feels as if she is a little adult. But she is still small and young and has so much growing to do!

  3. This is beautiful, Tricia! you have such wonderful way with words. It is so easy to get tired and frustrated by all the little requests and we are all guilty of it. I so appreciate the reminder that they are growing up so fast and these little requests are beginning to fade.
    Lisa @ The Golden Spoons recently posted..Some Advice for a 16 Year Old MeMy Profile

    • Thank you, Lisa! It is sort of amazing. I spend a lot of time bemoaning all of the little requests. And then, suddenly, one day, that particular request is gone. And then I kinda miss it.

  4. Scarlet is turning five soon. Too soon. And I’m amazed at how big she is and how small.
    I’m glad to hear the x-rays went well. She got a little spooked at the dentist last time!
    Tamara recently posted..The Passing of a Centenarian.My Profile

    • It is amazing – they are in this place of being a small big kid. Maybe they always will be in our eyes. Dentists can be spooky! And we had our struggles for sure but each time it gets better.

  5. Today is Malone’s 5th birthday. You stole the words right out of my heart. xo
    NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner recently posted..A Little Something Just For Me. A Perfectly Posh Review.My Profile

    • Happy Birthday Malone! Five is such a big, big age! Or at least it feels it to me. Then again, I think they all do 🙂

  6. 1. I love that your kids get bigger every day because it means I get to read about you growing as a mom. I like that you weren’t hurt by her choice of camp. I always felt the choice away from me gave the kids and I a chance to miss each other.

    2. Those hugs, like the one you gave? They get only bigger. I got one after a round-two playoff loss from my high-school girl. She’d just played her heart out and walked off the pitch with her chin up and tears on her face and came right to me for one of those hugs.

    3. It’s amazing that what we thought would be big ends up being a small part of something big. I think it’s so we can do it every single day.
    Eli@coachdaddy recently posted..Something Shocking for Lightning Day, in 6 WordsMy Profile

    • What we thought would be big ends up being a small part of something but so we can do it every day – oh my goodness yes, this is it.

  7. Oh, this took my breath away. Yes. So big, so small, such an honor, so exhausting, all at the same time, over and over again. Motherhood and life itself. xox

  8. This is so beautiful! It makes me long for the days when my youngest daughter was this young and rarely wanted to leave my sight of my side. It drove me crazy but now…oh, now I wouldn’t mind just a few more moments of that. She’s eleven, soon to be twelve. That happened way too fast. I guess I should find comfort in the fact that she is finally the confident, semi-independent person I always hoped she’d be. Still…
    Sandy Ramsey recently posted..Say What You Need To Say Gets Comfy(town)My Profile

    • Ahh I know that day is coming when neither of them want to crawl into my skin just to be that close. Sometimes I remind myself how quickly it’s coming and sometimes it just feels so far.

  9. My son is now 7 and Im wondering where the heck did time go, he’ll be starting 2nd grade in September. I’m old. Even my niece is now 6 months – I just met her in the hospital in December! Time flies so enjoy those little moments. We’re quick to wish time away but then we wish we hadn’t. Have a great one Tricia! -Iva

  10. Such an absolutely beautiful post, and exactly what I would expect motherhood to be. My little one is just 7 months old so I have awhile before she has some independence, but even in those short (but oh-so-long) 7 months I’m blown away by how much she has changed. She’s turning from a baby to a little girl slowly right before my eyes, and I know while it’s wonderful it’s going to be hard to let her go as she gets older. Stopping by from Sharefest.
    Bev recently posted..Owning the title of woman entrepreneur: An interview with Jenn AubertMy Profile

  11. Beautiful post. My two are 11 and 7 and I can so relate. Growing is hard for everyone…toughest for mamas. Stopping in from SITS. Have a wonderful day!

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