“Try to enjoy the crying, because it won’t last forever.”
“Enjoy every moment, because you’ll miss this one day.”
“Don’t blink, because time will fly when you’re not looking.”
“Try to appreciate the sleepless nights, because one day you’ll want them back.”
“Go ahead and let him sleep in your bed, because one day he won’t want to.”
“The hair-pulling phase won’t last forever.”
“The hitting phase won’t last forever.”
“The ‘no’ phase won’t last forever.”
“Don’t worry about potty training. It will happen when he’s ready.”
“If you think you’re busy now, just wait until he starts kindergarten.”
“If you think you’re worried now, just wait until he starts driving.”
“If you think you’re sad now, just wait until he turns eighteen.”
My oldest baby boy is eighteen today.
For eighteen years I’ve listened to these phrases and about a thousand more from well-meaning adults that had walked their own parenting road ahead of me. I knew they were just trying to be helpful…to give me a bit of wisdom they had gleaned from their years of watching milestones pass with no way to stop them…to remind me to pay attention and enjoy every moment.
But they drove me nuts.
Every stupid comment.
Because when he was a crying newborn, I wanted it to stop. Funny, the only thing that ever made it stop back then was my voice singing seventeen verses of Amy Grant’s The Lucky One until my throat was raw from the effort. I still don’t know why that worked. Then when he was a wide-awake one-month-old who suddenly stopped sleeping for three straight months, I wanted him to be a toddler right that second. When he was a hair-pulling, no-saying toddler, I wanted him to go to kindergarten. When he was a whiny kindergartner who wanted to stay home instead of going to school, I wanted him to be old enough drive so that for FOR THE LOVE OF GOD he would stop whining. Because surely he would stop whining by the time he had his license, right? And then when he was finally old enough to drive…
I wanted him to be a toddler again. And now that he’s eighteen…
I want my newborn back. If only could experience it one more time. For just one more day.
Funny how life works like that.
Funny how you don’t realize it’s going to happen to you until it does. So for every mom of a newborn out there, it’s okay to wish the time away sometimes. It’s okay to fantasize about your Driving-You-Nuts toddler magically becoming a self-sufficient adult by bedtime. Every mom does it. Every mom prays for every sucky phase to pass fast. Lord knows I did. About a million times a day.
Just try to remember that it will. Pass, I mean. You might even find yourself wishing for all your current sucky phases to return one day in the future, just like I’m doing now.
Until then, feel free to slap me next time you see me. Or hand me your screamingbabyhair-pullingtoddlerwhinykindergartner. I’ll be happy to watch him for an hour so you can take a nap.
I kinda miss those days.