They leave a trail behind them as they go, sunshine trapped in ringlets and jam hidden in pleats, that tickles at my nose. The echoes of their laughter and the ring of their throaty whispers wrap around my throat. I am consumed by this moment, this shift that I am as sure is happening as I am powerless to slow it.

Just this morning the line of Avery’s neck stole my breath, so long and lithe, dark wisps of hair nipping at her throat. Her eyes were enormous and as she looked at me I saw a flicker of knowing. She saw the montage in my mind reflected in my eyes, knew the girl that I was seeing, and she claimed her. I’m here, mama. I always was. My baby is settling deep in the soul of a little girl and I know that I must keep my promise. I have to let her go, slipping deeper, as vivacity and daring overtake curiousity and wonder.

Briar stands alongisde, a furrow in her brow, “Can I fix it, mama?” And I crumble. “Oh, honey, you are my fix it, you are.” Gripped with the fear of losing my babies, they are becoming girls, nurturing and challenging. I ache for the simplicity of what we’ve had, but know its sweetness lies in its brevity. I wonder as I wipe my tears, if my own eyes betray a shift, a slipping away of younger eyes in my own face, as another layer of mama sorrow falls upon my soul.