“Eighteen inches!” the nurse announced shortly after you were born. That’s officially how long you were. When I’m old and gray, I won’t remember eighteen inches. But I will always remember that you were the length of my forearm when your tiny soft warm head rested in the palm of my hand.
A line on the wall marks 30 inches. That’s how tall you were on your first birthday. 30 inches meant that I could hold you in the rocking chair with your head nestled into my neck and your knees tucked comfortably under you. 30 inches meant I could lift you over the crib rails and place you in your bed without waking you.
Another mark on the wall shows that when you turned two, you were 35 inches tall. I don’t remember 35 inches, I remember the leg hugs. You would exuberantly wrap your arms around my upper leg and bury your face into my thigh, squealing with delight and glee and slobber. That’s what leg hugs mean – 35 inches.
Now at three, you are 40 inches tall. 40 inches means you can sit in my lap and I can rest my chin on your head. And smell your hair. And whisper kisses and prayers down the back of your shirt without you knowing it.
I know that someday we will stand eye-to-eye and then there will be a day beyond that when you will rest your chin on my head. And I will still want to whisper kisses and prayers down your shirt without you knowing it.