They’re funny, the things people say to you when you become a parent. Many times, advice is unsolicited (a hilarious take on that is here) and at some point, well meaning people start to sound like a broken record with the oft-repeated “Sleep when they sleep!” and “This too shall pass,” bits of wisdom. At the time, especially when I had a kid who never actually slept, these interactions provoked an inward eye-roll and an outward (exhausted) half-smile. But in retrospect, I understand that people say these things to new parents because there is a grain of truth in all of them. Especially, I’m realizing lately, this classic: “Enjoy every moment, because they will be grown up before you know it. ” I don’t know about enjoying every moment, because, really? We should have been out the door 10 minutes ago and my child is announcing SHE CAN’T GET IN THE CAR BECAUSE SHE HAS TO CHANGE HER SHOES – FOR THE 4th TIME – and it’s 90 degrees with 90 percent humidity INSIDE our house and I JUST NOW realized there’s a huge juice stain on MY shirt and OH YEAH! WHERE’S MY PHONE? I AM NOT ENJOYING THIS MOMENT, I am not enjoying it one bit.
But I digress.
The part about them being grown up before you know it? Today, that feels ridiculously, bittersweetly true. This morning I took F to her kindergarten orientation. She got the teacher we were hoping for, and she has two good buddies in her class already, and the morning was awesome and exciting and momentous and, just, wow. But after I dropped her off at YMCA day camp, I headed to work and I just felt sad. Time IS flying.
I remember vividly the first day I walked her into daycare. She was nine weeks old and tiny, so tiny – she’d only weighed 5 pounds 6 ounces when we brought her home from the hospital. I could hardly talk to the lovely, loving women I handed her to because I was crying so hard. It was so, so difficult, and I remember feeling like there was no way I was going to survive it. But we did, we survived and totally fell in love with her daycare and it became our village, and it all turned out great and we are all better people for having been a part of that village. But I remember that first day, just not even being able to fathom how other parents did it – I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to have a toddler or a pre-schooler, let alone a kindergartener. And yet, here we are.
The thing is, time will fly, and the tough stuff does usually pass, and if you can sleep when they sleep, then you are way ahead of me. But even with the hard parts and the moments I don’t enjoy, parenting is still incredibly, beautifully, powerfully awesome. Awesome in a way I could never fathom or imagine before we got to where we are. Awesome, like today? At kindergarten orientation? You know, the first time we get to meet her teacher & her first chance to make a good impression? When her new teacher told her to “Please go ahead and decorate a frame so we can put your picture in it,” F responded, “NO THANKS! Not gonna do that.”
This too shall pass… right?