The measure of how much I love this stage is undefinable.
Noé-- sturdy, funny, four. Figuring out the world one "why" at a time. Laughing, throwing back his head in an full-bodied expression of joy that brings out the dimples in his cheeks and the twinkle in his eye. Noé, a gentleman. First to ask, "Are you ok?" or "Do you want to play with me?" Noé, firstborn. Thinks in black-and-white. Wants to know where the lines are and wants to enforce them. The planner, the thinker, the creator. Loving friends, loving structure, loving one-on-one time.
Aleni--independent, mischievous, determined, two-and-a-half. Her beauty takes my breath away, causes me to drink it in. The fierceness of her, the grace of her. I adore seeing traces of her heritage in her complexion, the shape of her nose, the long delicate fingers and frame. The way she seems to see herself as huge and invincible. The ways she seems to have no fear (Unless you throw costumed people, clowns, mascots, life-sized stuffed animals into the mix! Then you will see her most squeamish side. That's how I know she is my daughter.). These things both fascinate and frighten me. She is wild where Noé is cautious, impulsive where he is calculated. What a pair they make.
I feel as though I must somehow etch every moment of them into my memory, as into stone with a chisel. A sense of desperation--will I forget the way their deep chocolate brown eyes are filled with golden shining? Will I forget that cute thing he said... or the way Aleni loves to run full-speed ahead, head down and arms flung out straight behind her like a cape? Will the tender moments of play together, as they converse back-and-forth as only small children can, heads together, intensely focused--fade into shapeless shadows? Will I remember how hard they work to make us laugh, how much it means to them to be "a fam-ah-wee together"?
When Noé's boyish voice is lost in adolescence, will I cry? When Aleni looses the freedom of just being a kid--will it hurt my heart?
Somehow, with all the hard parts that come with raising preschoolers, I find myself desperately wishing to freeze time.
Perhaps, it is knowing that growing up is hard on a kid.
I think, though, the reality is I know that when this time is over, it's over. Yes, that will mean that I won't be wiping behinds and cleaning up puddles all day... but it also means loss. A loss of all those cute things that only little ones do, those who are virtually unaware of their bodies, expectations, and outside judgement. When they just purely are who they are.
My babies, I adore you just the way you are (and know my love will only grow).