Today you are eight.

You're five years from being a teenager.  Halfway to driving.  A decade from adulthood and leaving home, spreading your wings for the first time.

But that's all so far in the future.  I don't want to dwell on it too much.  There will be plenty of time for those things later.

But today, you are eight.  And I always want to remember what eight looks like.

Sometimes I like to just sit and watch you.  I want to try to memorize the way your thick, unruly hair always stands up at the crown, even when you try like crazy to get it to lay down.  I never want to forget the way your blue eyes (so, so much like mine) sparkle when you talk about the things you love.  I want to always remember the tiny little dimple that only shows up when you're laughing so, so hard at a funny story or joke that you have to tell.  I want to be able to call to my mind that little sprinkle of freckles that peppers your nose so very lightly that no one else ever even notices.

This is the only time you will be eight.  The things you love, the things you do, the way you look, they are ever changing.  So I try every day to memorize them.  To capture them.  To freeze them in a photo or a memory so that I will never lose that part of you. 

Sometimes you get so annoyed with me - and rightly so.  "No more pictures, Mama!" It's followed by a sigh, and occasionally an eye roll, much more befitting someone who is twice your eight years, but I never do what you ask.  I feel a need, an urgency almost, to capture as many moments of your life as I can. 

The days seem so long sometimes, but the years are flying by.   Just yesterday you were born.  Today you are eight.  

Today you are eight, and this is the only day of your life that you will be exactly that age.  In the midst of the mundane day to day things, like laundry and preparing meals and homework and driving here and there and everywhere, I try so hard to memorize it all.  It's fleeting, this life, and every minute, no, every second is precious.

And so are you.

Today, you are eight. 

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