I would not wish you small again, not for all the tea in China.
Your chubby little arms that circled my neck every morning when I lifted you from your crib forever softened my spirit. The baby-lotioned scent of your weight in my arms and the love-struck sound of my own off-key voice are a part of who I am today and who I dream of becoming when all has been said and done.
But I would not wish you small again, not for all the rubles in Russia.
Your windchime giggles that faded in and out as the backyard swing took you away and brought you back with all the sweeping regularity I could muster still compel me to laugh with more abandon because I have known true joy and that’s not something I can easily forget.
But I would not wish you small again, not for all the Northern lights in the Arctic.
Your mispronounced vocabulary that grew a little more every day showed us things you were learning as you watched the world around you – things we learned long ago but forgot that they mattered – things like flowers smell pretty and kittens are soft and leaves piled high are fun to jump into, even if we have to rake them right back up again.
But I would not wish you small again, not for all the ivory in Africa.
Your peaceful sleeping face is imprinted in my being like a strand of DNA, reminding me there are moments in this world that can make all the ugliness go away somewhere so far away we can pretend it doesn’t exist, at least as long as we’re staring at your innocent sleeping face.
But I would not wish you small again, not for all the cocoa in the Amazon.
When you were small you were perfect and amazing, but you could not tell me your secrets or come to me with your grown-up problems that you and I both know I would take upon myself if only the world worked that way, but of course, we both know it doesn’t. You could not meet me for coffee or laugh at inside jokes that no one else would get. You couldn’t tell me how you feel about the water in Michigan or the high cost of college or the way you hope to one day make things better. You could not make my day by stopping by to do your laundry and raid my pantry, letting me know deep in my heart you’ll always think of this old house as home.
Who you are now is the same as you who were then, but it’s like comparing a postcard to actually sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon with miles and miles of endless possibilities stretched out before you as far as you will let your heart lead you. Then you were just a snapshot of who you would become. Such a tiny drop in the vast ocean of thoughts and ideas and experiences that would eventually define the person you would become in your own right.
Why would I trade the depth of who you are now for the merest glimpse of who you would become (even if that glimpse came wrapped in chubby cheeks and fuzzy hair and giggles over patty cake and peekaboo)?
Why would I trade watching you learn to walk when I could have the highest honor of watching you learn to fly?
No, I would not wish you small again, not for all the tea in China.