Last year at this time, I was in the thick of it. I was six weeks in with a gassy baby who didn’t sleep. My husband and I were at each other’s throats. My family was on the other side of the country. My hormones were raging. My house was a mess.
When a mom friend innocently asked how it was going, it all word vomited out of my mouth.
“This too shall pass,” she said -– a little sadly. I didn’t really get it until now.
Maybe because when you are in the thick of it, you can’t see past your nose. You think your baby will always be a baby. He will never grow up and he will always be crying and you will never sleep, ever. In the new mother haze, all the crazy that’s in your head comes out to play. You believe your baby will never grow out of the dream feed, he’ll forever need to be swaddled and he’ll always fall asleep in the car.
This, of course, is not true.
But, no matter how many times completely logical people say that you won’t have a college freshman that needs to be rocked to sleep at 3 a.m., you don’t believe them.
I tried to remember “this too shall pass” whenever I got fried. During those 3 a.m. rocking sessions, it was something I could say to comfort myself. I rocked and rocked and wished so hard that I could hit the fast forward button.
I wanted to fast forward till he was sleeping through the night. I wanted to fast forward till he stopped crying. I wanted to fast forward to not sterilizing everything. I wanted to fast forward past breastfeeding. I wanted to fast forward past early solids -– steamed sweet potatoes again? I wanted to fast forward through so many things. Milestones, really.
And guess what? It worked. My plea was answered. Somehow, I found a magical baby fast-forward button. Time bent, the minutes sped up, and the baby grew and grew.
Fast forward to a year later. My friends are all having babies. They are so very tired. They are breastfeeding. They are up all night. I want to tell them that it won’t always be like this.
“This too shall pass,” I say. I don’t just mean the night waking, tired arms, and the watery poop.
I mean everything. The newborn smell. The baby falling asleep on you. The quiet night bonding. The first smiles. The first foods. The first crawls. The first steps. Everything will pass so very fast.
A year later, I wish I never found that stupid fast forward button.
This morning, we walked to the corner -– picked up croissants and headed to the park. A mom was walking by with a new baby.
“He only sleeps in the stroller!” She said from across the street.
“Oh man, I remember that!” I said.
“It gets better, right?” she said.
I nodded. It gets so much better, but it’s never the same.
Right now, my toddler walks like a drunken man –- off balance and gesticulating dramatically. Curls fall in his blue eyes as his chunky legs stamp down in the ground. He babbles on and on as he walks. He sounds like an ewok. He is hilarious.
My husband is showing him a flower and he is touching it gently with his pointer finger. “Dat!” he says. “Dat! Dat! Dat!”
And I think, right now, this moment, this right here, I don’t want this too to pass.
I close my eyes and think, “Hello out there, if you’re listening –- I’d like to press the pause button. Does anybody know how to press pause?”
A version of this post appeared on TheShortOnes.com