“We should get married someday, Mama!” your eyes lit up with excitement as if it was the greatest idea in the history of ever. I have to admit the thought of forever with you does sound pretty sweet.I smiled back and kissed you on the nose.At nearly four years old, you are allll about Mama—and I’m all about soaking up every last drop of this time with you because I know it won’t last forever. I’ve seen it with your older brother who’s just a few steps further down the road than you. I’ve seen it with friends who dropped their babies off at college for the first time this year.Seasons change. Kids grow.And I know it may be a strange thing to say about someone who still climbs up into my lap every chance he gets and follows me to the bathroom and thinks I hung the moon—But sometimes . . . I already miss you. Time is a thief, and my heart physically aches to know how fleeting this sweet stage will be.I would keep you here if I could, you know—at least for a little while longer.Lately you’ve been asking to watch old videos on my phone each night before bed. We curl up under the covers and you nestle your head into that sweet spot between my shoulder and my neck. We replay videos of your newborn coos, your baby belly laughs, your first birthday cake smash, your wobbly steps, and all the small moments in between. Your eyes dance as you watch. Mine sting with tears.When you reach up to wipe them away, I assure you they’re the happy kind. And they are . . . mostly. But little one, how do I explain to you that all of those memories seem like they were only yesterday? And that I miss them.Oh, I so badly miss all of those moments with you. Now, here we find ourselves in a particularly precious stage, and I’m just not sure how I can ever bring myself to let this version of you go. But I’ll have to, because soon you’ll reach for me a little less. The words you adorably mispronounce will be perfectly clear two months down the road. More things will be added to your “do it myself” list, and even though the tired in me sometimes looks forward to the independence in you, I get a lump in my throat every time I think about you needing me less—even if it’s only for the little things. Because not needing me to squeeze the paste onto your toothbrush will turn into you not needing me to hold your hand when we cross the street.Not needing me to tuck you in at night.Not needing me to fix your snack.Not needing me to be your chauffeur.Not needing me to show you the way anymore.I’ll blink, and you’ll grow from this little boy who wraps his arms tightly around my legs into a young man who will probably tower over me.We’ll love each other then, and that time will be wonderful its own way—but things will just never be the same as they are right here, right now.I’ll no longer be your everything.And I know—I know—this is exactly how it’s supposed to be. My job as your mama is to raise you well and then loosen my grip as you step into the world. But even though my head understands the process, my heart breaks at the thought.So tonight, I agreed to marry you.You smiled happily and leaned into my cheek with a smushy, wet, almost-four-year-old kiss before you drifted off to sleep. Long after the rest of the house was still, I lay there listening to you breathe and letting warm tears of pride, joy, love, and longing fall from my eyes.You’re right here in my arms, sweet boy, but sometimes I already miss you.