Within moments of a baby being born, parents are often told to cherish it. Cherish the little moments, the snuggles, the sweet newborn smell, the tiny hand in your hand, and all the wonderful nuances that become a part of your life with a little human.
Soon enough the baby starts to be on the move. Rolling from here to there, picking up speed, until they start crawling around and then climbing.
Parents are warned, "It goes by fast, soon she will be walking", "You think it's hard now, wait until she asks to borrow your car", "I remember when my daughter was that age"
The baby becomes a toddler, walking from room to room, discovering the world around them. A short trip to the grocery store turns into a very slow journey, holding a tiny hand in the parking lot, pointing out a tree, a red car, a plane overhead. Touching different fruits that the toddler points at. And a meltdown at the check out when the toddler is denied candy.
Months turn to years, and soon it's no longer a toddler, and it is a young girl, learning to read.
"She will be in college soon enough!", "Just wait until she's a teenager!"
When more babies are brought home. The warnings never end. There is always a baby, there is always someone learning to read, and there is always the oldest child. Forging ahead on new territory. Territory where you have never been a parent at. A place you haven't visited until well...you were their age.
"I wish sometimes they would just stay little.", "I remember when....", "The next age will be the hardest", "All my kids are grown now, I miss it."
These are all things I hear all of the time. I hear it in relation to my youngest, who is a year old and to my youngest daughter, who is 5.
Thankfully, I didn't pay attention to what people have told me. Sure, I listen. I listen to my own mother recounting stories of my childhood, which I can only remember in bits and pieces, and the events always seem hazy, as if I dreamed it. And I understand why people feel compelled to tell new parents to cherish and remember, and remind them that it goes by so fast. I feel as though maybe the people saying it, feel a little cheated, that they didn't realize how fast their kids would grow up. And they are just passing on a warning. "You think this is your life, but it's not, it is just a phase, soon you will be cheated, and it will be a memory."
Like I said, I don't pay attention. I haven't been paying attention to all the things people have said for me to think on. I haven't been deliberately trying to record my child's every moment in my head, with the fear that it will go by so fast. I don't listen when people tell me how much I will miss it, how the next phase is the worst, and that soon enough, she will be living on her own and she will hardly talk to me and what ever hell else people threaten.
Instead, I have been watching. The shape of her eyes, they have never changed. They have only gotten bigger and brighter. The laugh I heard when she was 3 months old? It's the same. But bigger, and louder. The tears she cried when she was first born, I wipe from her face, in the same way that I do now. I remember when I could hold her entire body in my 2 arms. Now, she is as tall as me.
I didn't pay attention to how much I would be missing, because I was paying more attention to her. And although sometimes I do hate that memories are all I have of her early years, I don't hate it enough to bother warning anyone else what is going to happen when they have a new baby.
And if I did, it would be,
"You think this is amazing now?.....You haven't seen anything yet"
You amaze me.