Don’t blink, mama.
I have always struggled with my perception of time. When I was a kid time moved so slowly, I measured my years by my birthdays and they always seemed so far away. I would tell my mom all I wanted was to be a grown up. I didn’t want time to slow down, I wanted it to speed up. So I would blink as fast as I could hoping that one day I would wake up and find myself to be that “grown up” I had always wished for. Once I became that grown up I discovered that time sped up. The more I appreciated time the faster it went. I began to understand why everyone complained about time slipping away from them and how fast time really does change.
Please blink, mama.
After my first was born I told myself to enjoy every moment. My pregnancy had gone by quicker than I thought but I was so excited to hold my baby that it didn’t matter. I had heard other moms saying “They grow up so fast.” and “This phase will be over before you know it”. I knew they were right but still didn’t completely believe them. I tried, honestly I did. I tried to enjoy every smile, to appreciate all the cuddles, or every time she fell asleep in my arms. I tried to remember every outfit, or commit to memory her first smile or how she struggled trying to roll over. I tried not to worry about the laundry or the messy house, but the truth is I still did. I got distracted and would say I can cuddle tomorrow, she won’t grow that fast. I tried to breathe in her new baby smell and when I was rocking her at 3am because she wouldn’t sleep, I tried to tell myself how quickly this phase would pass, but I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t see through the tiredness, the loneliness, and the stress of adjusting to motherhood that those early days would go by so fast. Each day felt so long but so rewarding and those moms were right, that phase was over before I knew it. Soon she wouldn’t let me rock her to sleep, she stopped needing me to feed her, she wanted her independence. When did my newborn baby turn into this independent sassy little girl?
You blinked, mama.
I did, and I woke up one morning to find out I was pregnant again. We were trying, so it wasn’t a huge surprise but in that moment I found myself asking, “How is this even possible, didn’t I just have a baby? I can’t be pregnant again, it just isn’t physically possible.” With this pregnancy I knew it would go by in the blink of an eye so I tried to take more time to enjoy being pregnant. To love my growing belly, to appreciate every kick, but even though I knew it would fly by I still blinked.
My first pregnancy- I didn’t believe it would go by as fast as it did, my second pregnancy didn’t allow me to fully soak in those nine months because I didn’t want to miss any of the huge milestones my first was hitting. When we found out we were pregnant I calculated when I would be able to find out the gender and thought 20 weeks is so far away, but I knew that in the blink of an eye we would be on our way to the ultrasound, making our announcement to friends and family and planning for her arrival. As the weeks went on I packed our hospital bag, we transitioned our first out of the nursery and unpacked the newborn clothes into the dresser. I knew she would arrive in a few weeks but the anticipation made it feel like the date would never arrive. I should have known better, soon she was here and we were already home from the hospital. We were introducing our new baby to her older sister who welcomed her with open arms. As I held our daughter down to meet her big sister I realized my brand new 5 lb newborn won’t be this little for long. My journey of holding on to each moment as they passed was starting all over again. I knew that her sweet innocent cries would soon turn into toddler screams and her little hand that couldn’t quite grasp my fingers would soon grow to hold my hand as she stood. I enjoyed the cuddles in bed. I didn’t guilt myself over laundry this time because I knew, this could be that last day; the last night feeding, the last newborn outfit, the last morning cuddle in bed. I took in every smile as they happened and tried to commit to memory every giggle but inevitably I also had to blink.
You have to blink, mama.
As I looked down at my growing toddler I realized that each moment that seemed to disappear, that slipped out of my grasp too quick, led to new moments that created more memories. When I think of holding my daughter for the first time the memory is blurry. I remember the emotions but I can’t pinpoint the exact moment in my life, but If time had stopped there, or when she was an infant I wouldn’t have gotten to hear her say “mama” or “daddy”. I wouldn’t have gotten to watch her learn to sing and dance or learn how to go down slides all by herself. As quickly as time goes by and as much as Idon’t want to blink, I have learned blinking is necessary. In those fleeting quiet moments that I’m not chasing the toddler around the stairs, cleaning the house, or doing the million other things on my list, I remember. I remember what her first smile was like, how we would cuddle and she would fall asleep in my arms, how I would rock her to sleep at 3 am, and how precious her new baby smell was. Then I stop remembering and I start living in each moment before I blink and those too become distant memories.