Dear New Mom,
I remember being pregnant with my first son and fourth child.
Early on. Sick sick sick.
Sending a ten-year old to school and staring at two toddlers strapped into their booster seats in the kitchen.
Spoon feeding them yogurt while I was sprawled across the tile on the dirty kitchen floor. Crying to myself and wondering how I would ever survive until lunch.
Exhausting days. Surprisingly bittersweet recollections.
I’ve stood in the bathroom at a Quizno’s throwing away poop-stained underwear. Realizing I had no back up spares packed for our day out. Trying to wrangle toddler hands from caressing the toilet seat. Tossing the equally poop-stained skirt in the trash too. Crammed in the tiny restroom with four children and a double stroller. Make shifting a pair of shorts from an extra t-shirt found in the bottom of the stroller. Strolling through the zoo later that day with a daughter dressed as you might imagine and ignoring the funny glances.
I’ve done these things.
My blog is filled with them.
My memories are brimming with them.
I’ve been living life with many small children for a decade now.
My “baby” is six and having five children under twelve doesn’t sound that dramatic any longer.
I’ve been thinking about young mothers lately.
And I’ve been thinking I want to hug them all. (And hugging is not my first response in most situations.)
And I want to say stuff. So much stuff.
But mainly stuff like – it all passes.
It all passes.
It all passes.
My Scout is nine years old and I would adore the opportunity to step backwards seven years and see her cute little blonde-headed toddler self waddle over to me and say “how coot!”. I want to hear her sing a Coldplay song again and see her shove her Little People characters into their barn. I want to hear her mumble and sigh loudly as she eats her dinner.
If I could watch the day that Mosely learned to run again, you know I would. Her pudgy snap-tight appendages booking it across our living room – moving from zero to mock speed in three seconds flat.
The time. It passes.
I love now.
I love it.
I love listening to Hawkeye riff track every goofy movie we watch until I think I’m literally being recorded on some secret television show because he’s that funny. And the moments when he informs me of such interesting facts that I have never known in my adult life.
Now is so good.
Yes, young mothers – now is easier. Now is kids making their own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Now is kids going to bed when you ask and bums that are wiped by children themselves. Now is chores that are actually helpful and stories that are actually funny. Now is shared interests and inside jokes and books you can read together.
It’s so so good.
But, young mothers – your now is so perfectly beautiful too.[clickToTweet tweet=”‘But, young mothers – your now is so perfectly beautiful too.'” quote=”‘But, young mothers – your now is so perfectly beautiful too.'” theme=”style3″]
Don’t you know? Don’t you realize?
Right now you are making the next Now.
Right now is so so good too.
And what you need, what your heart needs, is eyes to see.
Clear and divine vision.
The vision to see hope and value and joy in the diapers and the dirty and the breakdowns and the runny noses and the no no no’s from a two year old’s mouth.
I wish there was a way I could have it all.
(The mantra of America!)
I wish I could live in a world frozen in time and a world moving forward too.
I wish Riley could be both six, southern with a pixie haircut and eighteen, on the verge of Grown Up with plans for leaving the country. I want my Fox to both hug me and rub my cheek and shoot bow and arrows and write his name. Can I have both the Willow who says “Chip-ah-yay” and the Willow who has just learned how to spell “at”?
I can wish and wish. (And some days I do.)
But this is impossible.
I know I cannot have my tiny toothless Bergen and my clever bird watcher Bergen at the same time.
That is not how this works.
Which is why I want to say to young mothers over and over – the message I know you’ve heard but can never hear too often – how can I say it in a new way?
Relax. Embrace. Hug. Laugh. Watch. Listen. Be there.[clickToTweet tweet=”‘Relax. Embrace. Hug. Laugh. Watch. Listen. Be there.'” quote=”‘Relax. Embrace. Hug. Laugh. Watch. Listen. Be there.'” theme=”style3″]
It’s all so lovely. And so hard.
So beautiful. And so demanding.
It’s so important. Profound. Worthwhile. Life-altering. And life-giving.
Powerful and day by day. Slow and fast.
The ultimate paradox.
It seems so trivial. So mundane.
Yet it’s all that matters.
It’s all you will look back upon and care about.
It is really everything.
And you get to be there.
That’s really all.
You get to be there.
Privileged and lucky. Blessed and present.
Alive and awake.
It’s really the same message to the mother of the newborn and to the mother of the teenager.
To me and to you.
The same message.
“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” (Emily Dickinson)
Are you embracing every moment with your family?