There are many areas whereby I can visibly see that a child resides in my home – even if he isn’t present. There always seems to be a plethora of toys, stuffed animals, various types of shoes and maybe, even a wet wipe that has dried out after being used to clean up an art project. There may be sprinkles on the floor after cupcake baking and decorating or a colorful spot on the carpet matching the dried art dough scattered about. But there seems to be one space that I often find myself lingering – even catching my breath as I approach.
The refrigerator often becomes a landing space of moments for my little’s activities, outings, accomplishments and projects. I’ve been noticing this “museum” each time I open the door to grab milk for what feels like a dozen times per day. It’s amazing how this space is such an age marker, hosting pictures from last year’s birthday party, this year’s Christmas tree or his first time riding a bike. I realize how quickly this year has gone by and find myself breathing a little harder. Often there are sticky fingerprints on the refrigerator doors that seem much higher than before, as I wipe them clean. I realize how much bigger my baby boy is and I wonder how it happened so quickly. This sacred space holds time-stamped art projects evolving from basic to complex: coloring more closely to the lines, using glue without assistance, cutting straight lines with scissors (unassisted). I realize how much development has occurred as I hang one project beside another with a magnet clip.
I return the milk to the refrigerator once again after filling his cup. I gently close the door, lingering a bit and hanging onto the handle a little longer than usual. My mind begins to journey through the refrigerator gallery. I hold the handle, wishing I could hold onto time as well. People have always told me “how quickly time goes by,” but I never believed it until I witnessed my own snapshots of time. So, I remind myself that each time I approach my “museum” for milk, to let my heart and soul smile. And I am grateful this museum holds so many memories and promises to hold many more.
Amy Morgan-Henry is a wife and stay-at-home mom to one son, age 4. She enjoys writing children’s literature and party planning for families and young children.