Long Legs and Strawberry Shampoo

Lying here in bed, with NCIS in the background, but I’m not really focusing, not really watching. Instead, I’m concentrating on the little snuffles and grunts from Elizabeth, who is fast asleep next to me. I’ve just got back into bed after taking a sneaky peak at my three beautiful boys, all long legs and smelling of strawberry shampoo. They’re all about to start a new year at school – they’re excited about going back and being with their friends.

I can’t believe how fast they seem to be growing. Harrison, my biggest blue- eyed boy will be in year four. Alex, my beautiful brown-eyed boy will be in his final year of infants and Benjamin, who I always thought would be my littlest baby, starts full-time school. It feels like only months ago since it was Harrison’s little snores and sniffles I was listening to, while occasionally feeling his tiny hand reach out to make sure I was still there.

I’m trying to drink in every single moment of this now with Elizabeth, knowing how fast she will grow.

I don’t want to forget how her silky tufts of hair tickle my neck when she snuggles into me, or how she smells of that delicious milky smell that only newborns have. I don’t want to forget her hands as they are now – tiny, wrinkled and perfect, grasping my finger and holding it close, occasionally wrapping it around my necklace to make sure I’m not going anywhere. I don’t want to forget the weight of her head as it nestles into the crook of my arm, where she sleeps every night.

I don’t want to forget her littleness. How tiny she is, how much she needs me. In a few short years, she will be belting around the park on her bike with her big brothers, only coming in to get food or drink. She won’t even need me to get that for her. She will be chattering away about going back to school, seeing her friends and getting excited about the school year ahead, and arguing with me over bedtimes.

Before I know it, she will be a big girl, not needing me as much. But I’ll always need her. So while I have her here with me, in the dark bedroom, I’ll let her sleep in the crook of my arm or curled up on my chest every night. I’ll pick her up the second she scrunches her perfect little face up, I’ll cuddle and rock her to sleep every naptime and every night. And, when she’s eight, all long legs and smelling of strawberry shampoo, and doesn’t need me quite as much, I’ll still sneak in and steal those kisses.

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