I’ve had the absolute pleasure of time- travel this week. I’m caring for my sister and sister-in-love’s two young children while they have a little getaway to NYC. These two mommies do a bang-up job of parenting and deserve a well-needed rest! I get to go back in time some 10-18 years and be in full time charge of babies again.

I didn’t realize how much I missed that baby smell and softness and squishyness. I write this as a love letter to my 5 month old nephew, who has reminded me of all that is wonderful and important and gorgeous on this earth.

If I had it to do all over again:

1. I would memorize the smell of a baby’s neck and hair. Just, YUM.

2. I would blow more raspberries on their bare tummies and make them laugh till they got the hiccups.

3. I would take them out of their cribs while they were still talking to themselves, and rock them in the nursery at the start of the day.

4.  I would let them nap on my chest, soaking in the heat they generate. All the chores can wait.

5.  I would giggle when they’re crying hysterically, because they’re actually adorable when purple with rage.

6. I would be excited when they wake early from a nap.

7. I would change their clothes 4 times in a single day because I couldn’t stand how cute they were. I would realize those clothes don’t fit for long.

8. I would pay attention in the grocery store to the way they squeal and wave their arms wildly in the produce section.

9. I would take a few more moments at bedtime to rock them and listen to them gurgle and chat. I would close my mind to the stack of dishes in the sink and open it to the sheer deliciousness of their cheek against my lips.

10. I would enjoy every little random noise and spastic movement and whine and squeak and squall, because soon enough, it will be gone and I won’t remember what it sounds or feels like.

I love my big, gorgeous, grown up daughters. I love how we can discuss politics and relationships and joke about inappropriate things. But, I miss their baby-ness. It seems like yesterday, and I HATE cliches. Enjoy those babies, mamas. You only get them once.