They surround me, wisps of gown tickling at my feet, tendrils of chestnut hair kissing my neck and the rhythms of their sleep lapping at my soul. Each morning brings another nuance, turns of phrase slipping away and bright, shiny new ways of declaring my obsolescence emerge. We move as one, a tangle of mom and girl, baby and child, needy and capable. “You sure have your hands full,” people chuckle, heads shaking as they watch me, arms straining and breath slightly labored. I smile and nod, but inside I know that the shortness of breath and sinewy arms aren’t exhaustion, it’s the holding on. Gasping for breath as I watch time speeding by, my arms working at superhuman levels to hold it back. Beating away the ticking in order to catch one more throaty exclaim of Look at the up lines on the mountain hill. Or Mama, you show me one more elephant butterfly hug ‘fore you tuck me night night?. They are only today my babies, tomorrow becoming one step closer to the women I’ll admire. I greedily clutch these photos to my breast and breathe a ragged breath as I try to smile, and say in a steady voice, Yes, honey, I do see. You are very big.”