As I stood in line and unloaded my cart at the grocery store, the guy behind me noticed my little girl in her car seat. As we waited, he asked how old she was and as I proudly told him 'almost 5 months', he tried to coax a smile out of her. He continued to tell me that he and his wife have a five (almost six) week old baby boy at home. It was also their first so we continued to chat about how crazy it is having a little one.
We were both first timers to the parenting club so I expected him to proceed with a joke about lack of sleep or say something about how much harder it was than he ever thought it would be...you know, the common complaints of a new parent. But he didn't...
I wanted to have the chance to tell him, like many others had told me, that it gets better. I wanted to tell him that the first smile, the first time they roll over, the first time you hear them giggle- your heart melts...it doesn't matter if you are completely exhausted and going on just a few hours of sleep (not a few hours straight- I'm talking an hour here, an hour and a half there...). The little moments you have with that tiny person somehow will give you the strength to keep going.
I was the veteren between the two of us so I wanted the chance to fill him in on the special things that were to come. I wanted to give him something to look forward to. The first 6 weeks or so (more like the first three months or so...) were such a blur for me that I wanted to comfort him and to bond with him over our shared experience with lack of sleep, dirty diapers, and crying babies (well, as much as you can bond with a stranger in the checkout line). I wanted to share everything I've learned over the last few months...but I couldn't.
Before I could jump at the chance to be the experienced one with the wise advise, instead of the newbie I've been seen as for the past few months, he said something that made me rethink how I should be viewing this journey of parenthood.
'It is so amazing...' he said.
He was still looking at my little one wiggling around in her car seat when he said this, but I could tell that he wasn't seeing her. He was seeing his little boy and all of the moments they had already shared in the short 5-6 weeks since he was born.
I realized that he wasn't the one who needed the encouragement and reassurance- it was me. I've been lucky enough to be able to stay home with our little girl but I find myself just trying to make it through each day... and then each night. During the day, I catch myself wanting it to be evening, when my husband is home to help. During the night, especially if the little lady is having a rough night, I can't wait for the sun to finally come up so I don't have to fight for sleep. I've been wishing the days away without even realizing it. I've been so caught up in the every day little battles and although I've enjoyed it and wouldn't change it for the world, I haven't been taking in every moment as much as I should be. Our little girl has grown so much already...if I don't focus on making the best of each day, I'm going to miss it!
I guess we all need a little reminder to slow down every once in a while- a little nudge to remember that we should live in the present, not in what we think our future will be. The important thing is that we recognized this reminder and actually try to take in each day.
Now if you will excuse me...I have some snuggling and playing to do.