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In the beginning they were tiny and square and soft and clean. Now? Now they’re slowly morphing into the opposite. Her feet are getting larger by the night and they’re slowly taking a shape of their own, arches forming and toes lengthening and sometimes they smell of vinegar and grass.  I’m not as eager to pull them close to my face as I once was. There was a time I planted my lips on the soles of her flat feet to feel her toes curl around my nose, to watch her wiggle and giggle, to soak in every detail as an effort to pause time because I knew the rumors warning me that time passes quickly would turn out to be true.  I was right. They were right. Time flies when you’re having fun and I’m having the time of my life.

One day these feet of hers will be calloused and cracked from paths traveled, from roads taken, from lessons learned, from love and loss and I’ll see them and remember their original state. I’ll remember rubbing lotion between her toes and over her heels before snapping them in footed pajamas. I’ll remember clapping them together during late night/early morning diaper changes just to see a toothless smile in return. I’ll remember when the thickness of them supported her weight as she pulled up and the wobbly balance they offered when she braved her first steps. Those first steps from an ottoman in our living room to the glass door framing the outside world, a world that is hers for the taking.

As much as I want to keep her small, I know that I can’t. I know the joy is in the journey and part of that is letting her find her own way. Parenting is so much about the teaching and the guiding and the getting by that we sometimes forget to stop and live in the moment. We forget in all the raising and the correcting and the rewarding that these caterpillars of ours will one day leave the cocoon we’ve provided for them, spread their wings and fly away. It’s then we can only hope they remember where they started, where their feet first found the ground and then we’ll see the beauty of our efforts. We’ll see the product of the seeds we planted along the way and then we’ll live in the beauty of the blossom, the footprints they've left behind after putting their best foot forward.

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