I've been hugging her a lot this week.
"Why so many kisses?" she asks me. "Well, because I only have so many more days to hug and kiss my four-year-old.", I tell her, over and over again.
She giggles. "You know you can kiss me when I'm five, too, right?", I laugh and grab her for just one more.
Sure, I can still smother her with kisses and hugs when she's five. But if I've learned something from mothering three children, there's something that happens around the age of five. Oh, five is one of my favorite ages to be sure. Yet, there is a shift, a change, it's vivid and tangible.
I want to remember every frosty morning, snuggled in my bed - every noon time, tripping over her because she's decided she's a cat, again. I want to hold on so tightly to every sunset request for a snack, even though she's just finished her dinner.
These days are beautiful and they're loud, they're fleeting and they're precious. They're unique, you know? The way her missing teeth make her smile all the bigger, how she cries out "this is my WORST nightmare" when it's time to brush her tangles.
May I never forget the bits and pieces that have made her four.
May I never forget the bits and pieces that make me love her, impossibly more each day than I did the previous.
So yes, I'll steal more kisses and more hugs, each day until finally, when the morning arrives that she steps forward, from four to a sparkling, brand new, five-year-old.
And then, I shall begin the process of kissing her at five. Because before we know it, that will be a distant memory as well.
Slow down, my sweet. Mama loves you so.