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“Hold me,” she says. She looks at me with her big brown eyes and lifts her arms up waiting for me to oblige and I do, every single time. I lean over and pick her up and position her on my hip and she rests her head on my shoulder just as she did when she was barely a year old, just as she did when she was two, then three, just as she did last year. "Thank you," she whispers.

Her legs have gotten longer and now stretch further than they used to. In a few months, her toes might finally reach my knees yet we both refuse to acknowledge that fact. Instead she tucks her legs into her chest any time she feels the truth of her size threatening to reveal itself. She wraps her arms around my neck and plays with the collar of my shirt and if I’m lucky, she’ll giggle in my ear if I pretend to drop her.


She took her first steps the day after she turned one. I watched her tiny fingers pull away from the ottoman in our living room and she fanned them out, extending her arms like wings, and took several short steps before reaching the glass door that leads to our screened in porch. Her chubby feet, square and soft, padded across the wood planks of the floor and I watched my little bird take flight.

As time draws line after line in the sand whispering promises of today becoming yesterday, next week becoming last, beginnings marking the endings in their wake, I can’t help but see how much my baby isn’t such a baby any longer. Her hair has changed texture and her perspective has grown wider, her questions have provoked more thought and sometimes I struggle to answer them. However, when she asks me to hold her – the answer is always yes.


The other day, we were waiting in line to order ice cream from our local creamery when she looked up and told me she was tired of standing. I scooped her up and felt her limbs wrap around me while she whispered ice cream flavors in my ear. We navigated our way through the line, picked our flavors, and left. At some point, the lady in front of us leaned over to her friend and said, “That kid is way too big to be held”. 

I said nothing in return because I didn’t want to cause a scene in front of my daughter or make her feel insecure because I acknowledged that the comments of a stranger affected me. I continued discussing the colors and flavors and waffle cones and sprinkles with my five year old because our conversation was positive and fun, not out of line nor out of place, it wasn’t pertaining to something that was ultimately none of our business.


That kid is way too big to be held. That kid is growing up fast, a reality any parent knows all too well. That kid finds security and safety in my arms and I would never deny her of that. That kid brings her issues to me, whether they vary from tired feet or a missed nap or impatience when standing in long lines or the puncture wounds from sharp words, and I will always do my best to hold them for her. 

That kid is way too big to be held. That may be true, but that kid will one day stop asking me to hold her. I will put her down one night and not pick her up again the next day because the years pile up quickly, because while she’s getting older so am I. That kid will inevitably become an adult, but for now I'm allowing her to be little. That kid is not yours. That kid is my own and as long as she’s asking to lean on me, I’ll let her. 


“Hold me,” she says. She looks at me with her big brown eyes and lifts her arms up waiting for me to oblige and I do, every single time. I lean over and pick her up and position her on my hip and she rests her head on my shoulder just as she did when she was barely a year old, just as she did when she was two, then three, just as she did last year. "Thank you," she whispers. 

"Thank you," I whisper back.

3 comments

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. It's perfection.

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  2. Found your blog quite by chance, and have been moved so much reading this. Two teenage daughters here, and there's no greater gift than when they still slip a hand in mine, rest a head on my shoulder, or say to their dad "carry me" when they are tired. It always causes great hilarity, and the risk of hernia's or slipped disks, but he always does carry them. And it's the best.

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