My daughter recently celebrated her first birthday. I was expecting to have all the feels about it, because that’s usually how I am, but as the day crept up, came, and then passed I was somewhat surprised to find the only feels I was feeling were positive. Peaceful. Pleasant.
On the short list of my new mom grievances is being pretty much constantly reminded by someone that it goes so fast. Any variation of this sentiment grates my nerves something terrible, and one of the many reasons I feel so frustrated by it is because I find it an incredibly patronizing kind of thing to say to a parent. I mean, whether you do or don’t have children of your own, don’t you think the person you’re saying this to already knows this fact? And especially if you’re a parent saying this to another parent; I mean… really? Don’t you think they (a fellow parent) have realized just the same as you did that time moves fast and kids grow quick and you think every stage is really hard until you get to the next week and then you miss that former, easier-but-also-it-wasn’t-easier level of hard? Yeah, you know they do.
My point is that most parents are already breaking their necks trying to keep up with the rate kids create special moments. Like most millennial moms, I’m photographing and preserving and documenting to the best of my mere mortal abilities, and I’m doing it all while doing the mental and emotional gymnastics of being “present” and “in the moment” with my child. So when someone comes up to me and basically is all, “Mom, Mom, MOM!!! Are you watching?!” it’s practically all I can do not to scream “YES I FUCKING SEE; I AM STANDING RIGHT HERE!” I know this bodes well for my ability to handle older children, but I stand by it.
Anyway, all this to say I didn’t feel the feels I thought I would feel on my daughter’s first birthday and I’m pretty sure it’s because I have no regrets about how I spent my time this year. I love being a mom. I loved being home with her for the first eight months of her life and I love it now that I am a working mom in a career I truly love. I soaked up as many moments as I could hold, and what else can I do? I can’t stop the clock, and being kept hyper-aware of its presence by the mom guilt culture fostered in the West does little to remind me to count my blessings.
No one ever got lost in the moment by watching the clock.
On her first birthday, I thought about how big my daughter is getting, but not at all about how fast she’s growing up. I thought about how she’s a little bit more fun and a little bit more the person I get the privilege of helping to shape. I thought about how full she has made my life, and how every night I think I couldn’t possibly love her more and every morning I learn I was wrong. I thought about how I had done my best to make 365 days with her count, even if those days are short.
It does go fast; I won’t deny it. But I won’t be held hostage by it.
My baby turned one, and these last few weeks have already brought about some major changes that forever remind me we’re not in infancy anymore. As the mommy of any toddler will tell you, shit gets real… real fast. Even though she’s still a toddling tyrant in training, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that it’s easy to fall into baby nostalgia during these years. “It goes so fast” is just baby nostalgia, and I am choosing not to participate in that right now.
I was gifted an incredibly good-natured baby who has spoiled me rotten, but lately she’s been gearing up to prove that business about apples and trees after all. I sometimes wonder how she’ll be as a full-fledged toddler here in about 6-12 months, but it always makes me feel kind of dizzy so I try not to think about it much. And when I look at my mom friends who are truly in the trenches… like way down deep in the mud… with multiple toddlers or toddlers and infants, I think to myself… I double-dog-dare somebody to tell that woman “it goes so fast.”
Good-bye babyhood. You may have gone fast, but you treated me well.
(**roll ’em up**)