Friday, June 29, 2007

too dang fast

Shortly after M turned five months old, I was nursing her to sleep upstairs in the nursery when I realized just. how. BIG. she. is. Her wavy-haired head was nestled in the crook of my arm and her daddy long legs dangled precariously between the rungs beneath the armrest on the other side. She was literally spilling off my lap, a relaxed pile of milk-drunk limbs. For the first time since Madeleine's birth, I cried about her growth, the changing that is happening so fast.

Everyone tells you this, "it will go by so fast," as you enter parenthood, along with a barrage of other negative comments such as "oh, this one's a good sleeper? just wait for the next!" or, "you think that's bad?! Let me tell you a REAL infant horror story!" or, my personal favorite, "don't get used to it!," like my lovely baby will turn evil any moment.

There seems to exist among parents a bad news club, or this need to negate positive experiences and sweet moments with some sort of whacked-out backwards parent karma: what seems good now will one day be bad. Why is that? Out of many, many women who I spoke to about labor and delivery, only a select few told me positive stories about their own, and only one told me what was the absolute truth (in my own experience): your labor can be a wonderful time.

As I sat in the rocker with tears in my eyes, I grieved for the moment that would never again be. My child, still so much a baby, was changing by the minute into a bigger, smarter, more independent person.

With each new day, a new development. With each milestone, a celebration. Each morning I love her more and more, and it is true, what parents say (positively, I might add): each stage is your favorite. But she's my child; of course every stage is my favorite because she is absolutely my most favorite thing in the world.

I am in awe of who she already is and find myself wondering at the little girl, teenager, grown woman she will one day be. But these flash-forwards are fleeting, because there are far too many in-the-moment times where I celebrate who she is at that very second, even if the celebration involves tears at the infant she is leaving behind.

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