The click of her shoes against the kitchen floor pulls my eyes from the recipe I’m reading on my phone. Taco seasoning. I’ve made it a million times, but my brain can’t seem to store that information anywhere I can readily retrieve it. Her smile is bright and big. It forces my evening scowl into a grin. She uses her hands to spread the skirt of the pink, satiny princess costume wider to showcase its fabulousness. Peeking out from under the floor length gown, are golden, glittery tights and the silver heels she’s only supposed to wear for dress up (and occasional trips to restaurants, gymnastics, and, and, and, “Mom I can totally walk in these and promise they WILL NOT hurt my feet at the grocery store…”). A silver crown tops her precious seven year old head.
It occurs to me that it’s been a while since I’ve seen her in this garb. She doesn’t dress up as much as she did a year ago. I swear her legs get longer every day. How many more times will she be able to squeeze into those golden tights? How often will she pop into the kitchen, smile beaming, to show me a fun outfit, a creative drawing, or something she’s created using ALL the tape we have? It occurs to me, there have been times she did…when I barely looked up.
There are so many things. There are ALL the things. And she and her brothers are truly just racing through the years while I do the things and worry about the other things and think about the things I didn’t do yet. In that moment, I remember that none of the things…no thing…matters as much as love. I may have to read a recipe a hundred times, but I don’t want that smile, the click of those heels, or those golden toes to be something I can’t readily retrieve. I want to look long and hard at those magic moments, memorize them, feel them, and carry them with me always. I want her to do the same.
She leaves the dress on until bed time. (She ditches the shoes earlier because they kind of do hurt her feet a little) She asks me to carry her “like a baby” up the stairs. I oblige because I know I won’t be able to do it much longer. She settles into my arms with a smile, her long legs folded over my arm. I watch her little golden toes bounce gently as we go.
There is no recipe for a good life. If there was, I’d read it over and over to get it just right. In reality, I can only try to remember the most important ingredients. Like the love. And the noticing of the magic in little glittery, golden toes.