It’s weird. The very things I wanted to fast forward through with my first born I already want to savor with my second.
Bringing home a newborn was such unfamiliar territory the first time; it was all too easy to anticipate the milestones – awaiting for the next best thing that he could master.
I couldn’t wait for the first smile, the first roll, the first foods, the crawling, the walking, the talking. It made me unintentionally wish for my baby to grow up in what would already prove to be the fastest year of my life. While the days felt slow, one thing I didn’t fully understand was how many phases truly comprise that first year. I look back on these phases now and can’t believe how much has changed in such short increments of time. It’s incredible, but I only wish I had paused to appreciate these phases in all their glory.
This has placed me in a whole different mindset for number two. I CAN wait.
I can wait for pregnancy to last as long as it needs to because I now know that I will miss feeling so deeply connected to her while she is growing in my belly.
I can wait to get out of the fourth trimester, because I now know that they really won’t be newborns for long. I know that as painful and exhausting as those early days are, there is also a state of calm and peace that comes from snuggling them for hours – something that just doesn’t happen as they get older.
I can wait for all of the firsts because I now know that rushing these milestones only makes time slip by even faster. I know that every baby runs on his or her own timeline, and that it’s much more rewarding to love their current stage than it is to look ahead.
Ironically, the things that I didn’t like about our current phase became the very things that I missed in the next.
When he wasn’t mobile, I longed for him to gain his independence. When he gained his independence, I missed the sweetness that came with a baby who just needed to be held.
When he was napping throughout the day, I longed for him to be more alert. When he dropped those long naps, I missed the bouts of freedom I had to be hands-free.
Truth be told, there’s nothing easy about bringing a baby home. There’s also nothing easy about raising a toddler. Searching for what feels easy, however, won’t necessarily bring more reward. I’ve learned that there is so much joy to be found through each of these difficult phases in parenthood. Now that I’ve uncovered these unsuspecting joys, I’m going to hang onto them as long as I can.