The early months of both of my kids’ lives were not easy. My daughter had colic and my son was as fussy as they come. I remember how many people back then tried to tell me to enjoy those days. “They grow so fast,” they said. “Savour this time,” they urged me. It was probably the most obnoxious ‘advice’ I received, and I received it a lot.
I said then—and still feel now—that there wasn’t much to savour back then. I don’t miss the newborn days AT ALL. In fact, the newborn days are why my husband and I stopped at two kids. I don’t miss those days. I don’t wish I had savoured them more. I’m still annoyed by people who told me to.
I do wish I savoured individual moments (not the stage, just a moment or two) from those days. I wish, during those 45-minute increments of sleep my daughter would give me, I took a moment to breathe it all in, the moments of quiet and freedom, the reprieve. I wish I looked at her passed out on my chest or my husband’s shoulder and enjoyed how peaceful she looked, rather than just viewing her with the anxiety and dread that she’d wake any minute. I NEEDED those moments of reprieve so badly that I never took a second to actually enjoy it.
All stages in our kids’ lives will have their challenges, and no, we won’t necessarily wish for every stage back. They do grow so fast. But, frankly, that stage couldn’t go by fast enough. I’m sure many of us have had stages of our kids’ lives we were happy to see end. Maybe you’re in one right now and can’t wait to get out of it.
I often think back on the one piece of advice that my husband and I received at our wedding that was the most valuable and the one we tell couples to take at their wedding. Our friends told us to take a step back by the entrance to the room, just him and I, and take it all in. And we did. We looked at all our guests who came to celebrate with us, the smiling faces and dancing friends. We watched the band playing, looked at the centrepieces, our table seating plan come to life, the drinks being enjoyed. We took it all in. It is really the only part of our wedding we remember. The whole celebration was amazing, but that is really the only part either of us remember in any detail.
I guess, the only thing I regret now about my kids’ newborn days is not taking that wedding advice, and finding a moment, any moment, to take in the details. Maybe that’s why now, I do go out of my way to occasionally sit back and just take it all in. I stare at my 8-year-old while she reads sometimes. I sometimes stand in my 6-year old’s doorway while he plays under his loft bed and just watch him until he notices me. Hell, I sometimes just watch them watching TV together. These aren’t huge moments in their lives. But there is so much more to this whole child raising thing than the huge moments. I remember the individual details from my wedding more than anything else, thanks to that advice. I will likely remember some of the bigger events in my kids’ lives as they (and I) grow, but I also really want to remember the details.
I wish I remember if my daughter’s nose twitched when she slept. I didn’t pay attention. I wish someone had said to me, not to savour the stage, but to find a quiet moment and to just take that one simple moment in. They’re there. They are always there. Even if your baby screams bloody murder, or your toddler throws down in public, or school age kid is all sass or your teenager is hormonal, there is always a moment during those stages worth stepping back and taking in.
Maybe I would have taken a strip off of someone who tried to tell me to find moments to savour back when I was dealing with Screamy Screamerson. But maybe I would have, one day during that moment of quiet, taken that advice and just stared down at her and taken in her deep breathing, lashes fluttering and maybe, a twitching nose.
Yes, the days are long, and the years are short. I think, maybe, the best way to get through the long days is to take that moment at the doorway and take in the details, the wacky positions they sit in watching TV, the sweet way they sleep, the moment that siblings who usually yell at each other sit nicely on the couch together, watching the same show, laughing at the same jokes. So, as the years fly, your memories have a solid library of details that seem not to matter now but will be wonderful snippets of these days as they grow.