As I was cuddling with the girls on the couch last night, watching the return of “The Gilmore Girls” on Netflix, a tiny hand clasped mine while her other tiny hand twisted and wiggled her loose tooth. I was slightly grossed out by the now bloodied paper towel she had wrapped around the tooth for better leverage in her pulling adventures and my left leg was starting to cramp under the weight of her eight-year old body.
But that tiny hand stayed clasped in mine and I couldn’t help but trace the tiny dimples in her fingers, noticing that they were filling in more with each passing day. After an already busy school year, it was nice to sit and relax a bit on this Thanksgiving break, not worrying about bedtime or whether or not there was homework to be completed or emails to be responded to.
I soaked in the sight of her dimpled hand, the scent of the bath soap still on her cheeks and felt the gentle way her chest rose and fell with each breath, now moving in rhythmic time to mine. And I was instantly aware of the tears pooling at the corners of my eyes. I knew this time with my girls was fleeting and that each moment should be treasured in just this way because all too quickly, they would be the age of Rory on Gilmore Girls, traipsing the world, independently making their own way, no longer sitting on my lap with tiny hands clasped inside of mine.
It’s times like this that I break open the photo albums and spend time gazing at the snapshots of the tiny babies inside of them and marvel at how quickly it’s all happened. The early days were seemingly endless and each hour ticked achingly by.
Now, it feels that each moment is flying by faster than I can grasp and I know that it’s only going to speed up. I need to grab hold of these moments now while I still can. Each ordinary and beautiful moment, blood soaked paper towel, loose teeth, cramping leg and all.
Attempting to capture each moment feels nearly impossible, but I am so thankful that I have spent the years taking snapshots of ordinary days. It’s wonderful to have memories from the major events: the holidays, birthdays, and other milestones. But it’s the simple, ordinary days that mean the most as I know that those are the days I’m already missing. And so, I videotape the silly dances in the living room, the loose tooth turned sideways in her mouth, our lip syncing to the radio in the car while waiting for our Chinese food take out.
It may seem narcissistic to focus on us so much and to some extent it is – it’s my life, our life, that I want to capture and hold on to. But the pictures on the walls, in albums and on work desks remind me of what matters most in this world. I love looking at them, adoring the moments that were captured and remembering the time spent.
I’m often not in the pictures since I’m behind the camera (and I’m not of the generation embracing the selfie although I have attempted a few for the fun of it). The best captures of time with my daughters, however, have been by our friend and artist Carla D’aguanno. Although the scenes are staged and she manages to make us all look so good with her paint brush and talent, I am awed, honored and so very thankful for the moments that were captured in these paintings. It’s a special time that I know won’t last forever, but she has made it so that these times can live forever on canvas. The originals may be hanging in galleries or private residences throughout the country but the prints and memories stay with us. And for these ordinary moments turned extraordinary, I am forever grateful. Now if I could only get time to stand still the way they are in her paintings…
For more of Carla’s beautifully talented figurative and equestrian paintings, visit www.carladaguanno.com