Do you ever just look at your child and think "woah, when did you grow up?"

Looking at Ellie, playing harmonica and singing to me from across the room, her face suddenly looks older, more mature than it did the day before. She laughs, scrunching up her eyes and nose, bending forward at her waist in a way I haven't noticed before. She's literally growing up before my eyes.

How can it be that she will be three years old tomorrow? Three years of laughter and tears have already gone by. Three years of yelling and eye-rolling and playing hide-and-seek and reading bedtime stories.

She's polite and funny and a train wreck and the most stubborn person I know. She's cool and smart and beautiful and talented and everything her dad and I are, and aren't. She's so much more.

I remember right after she was born, someone said to me that "the days will feel like years and the years will feel like days." It was one of those things that people say to you in your sleep-deprived, post-delivery, breastfeeding zombie state like "sleep when the baby sleeps" and you just nod and say "yeah, ok." But truer words have never been spoken. These past three years have been the hardest and most rewarding in my life. I wish time would stand still and at the same time I look forward to that 8pm bedtime each and every night.

But I know that time is fleeting. And when she wakes up tonight at 2am, asking for a sip of water after she goes to the bathroom, and makes her way back to my room at the end of the hall instead of hers, I'll embrace it. I'll hold her close, breathe in her sleep smell, and get kicked in the head once or twice because in a few days, she'll be moving out on her own, leaving me wishing for one night more.

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