Avery the baby is slipping through a crack in the door, a sockless foot zipping out of view and then, a musical giggle around the corner. It’s been happening for a while now.

Having been down a similar road just over a year ago, I thought maybe I’d handle it better- knowing how excruciatingly powerless we are in the rate at which the sand passes through the hourglass. Some days go by in a moment, others slow, as if held by some benevolent hand, allowing a little more, one last touch.

This time as I feel the breeze upon my face, the scent of baby growing fainter with each new morning, I’ll try to breathe deep. Try to capture this time, inhale the passing spirit and hold her in my heart. I know that what’s ahead is every bit as sweet, but the ache still rings through my soul. No amount of door holding or emotional bracing prepares you for the moment when you realize that your baby is essentially saying, “No, thanks Mom. I’m all set.”

The dimples upon her knuckles are being shed like a rainy day fairy costume as slender fingers and strong, broad hands emerge. The contours of a face I wept for are changing, she is still there, that magnificent creature they placed in my arms one May morning a year ago, but there is another too. She pierces me. Lips once slick with drool and waiting for my tending are now a deeper red and arranged in for what looks like all the world to be a wry smile. Wry! At a year.

Echoes of others who have tread this path tickle my ears. They soothe me as they whisper of new beginnings. Memories blur and experiences may fade, but the touch of this time stays, a lover’s kiss on the soul. And though time may shift the needs and wants, their hands will always reach, perhaps for help, perhaps for love, but always for mom.

I love you, Avetastic.