To all the parents who remember when they had squishy faces and chubby fingers, speech that needed a translator. To all the parents who ate leftover mac'n'cheese and applesauce their kids didn't finish, who reheated cups of coffee over and over and over. To all the parents who remember longing for naptime and laundry-folding, a rest in between the loud demands of young ones.
Now they're tall and awkward, or maybe not. Their voices changing perhaps. Now they're learning how to express themselves in new ways, stand up for themselves in new ways. Now they're learning how to navigate this world with cell phones and text messages and Snapchat, things that were barely being used when they picked up the Fisher Price pretend landline phone and called Grandma with their squishy faces. Now they're looking to the future, a life beyond the four walls of their homes. Where they might head to college.
I see them now, look up to them because they're now taller than me, and I remember the squishy faces, the lining-up-cars, the sitting in circle time singing, "What is the Weather?" The conversations with the mommies, with all the flavors of coffee creamer crowded on the counter, strategically remembering where I placed my coffee cup as not to confuse it with another's.
These little ones grew up, and so did we. After 14 years we still keep in touch, even if it is only a "like" on Facebook. How wonderful to have a common history, a shared memory. They weren't all great memories, but there were a lot of really good memories.
To the parents who have known my babies since they were babies, thank you. You hold my babies in your memories as I hold yours. Thank you.