It has been a long and tiring day and there is yet another mess to clean up. I walk into the room and pick the Winnie the Pooh spoon up off the kitchen floor and remove the bowl from the table.
I give an irritated sigh. The table is covered with vanilla ice cream, I shake my head and mumble half under my breath, 'did any actually make it into her mouth?!'
I grab the sponge from the sink and as I am about to wipe down the table something catches my eye and causes me to freeze.
There on the table, made in the ice cream are hand prints.
The sight of these hand prints makes me smile for a moment and then just as quickly I feel tears well up in my eyes. The hand-prints are so small and yet so big. Where did my baby go?
I clean up the mess and go on to do the nightly ritual of hands and face washed, teeth brushed, pj's on and prayers said. Books are read and I love yous and good night kisses take place and as I pull the Mermaid blanket over her and turn to leave the room I stop at the door to just stare.
The tiny baby that just yesterday cuddled next to me in my bed was now this little girl that wanted to sleep in her own "big-girl" room.
Her eyes are closed and her long lashes touch her cheeks, she is so exquisitely beautiful...it takes my breath to look at her. When did this transformation take place? How did it happen right under my nose?
It doesn't seem that long since she was so small and helpless.
As I stand there, I think about all the things I took for granted.
The helpless cries are now replaced with the sound of "I can do it myself mommy".
Everyday is now so full of discoveries and firsts that will never be new miracles in her eyes again.
Everyday my baby disappears a little more and this new little person takes her place… a little person that can hop on one foot and sing along with the radio and who isn't afraid of the big slide anymore. I am now blubbering as I stare at this sleeping child, missing what use to be when suddenly as if to console me the sleeping child puts her thumb into her mouth.
I suddenly see my baby hidden there and I smile and realize just how amazing three year olds really are.