She was struggling, with one hand, to collapse her new stroller into the trunk of her car. In her other hand, a carseat with a precious newborn: So well-swaddled that all I could really see was his spiky black hair. Perched on top of the car, a Venti Starbucks. Her Lululemon sweats and Ugg boots looked comfortable and slightly wrinkled. A ponytail and big sunglasses piled on top of her head completed the look.
There she was, so familiar: a new mommy in action. Getting used to balancing the groceries, her baby, a new stroller – her new life. In her past, it’s an almost-guarantee that she probably never left the house in sweatpants. Little things like the designer shades and her expensive haircut told me, that in a prior life, she was fashionable and well-groomed. Not that she didn’t look great, but at this moment, her own appearance was obviously secondary to caring for her newborn and the actual logistics of getting out of the house.
How clearly do I remember those moments? It only feels like a second ago that I was that girl (see pic – that’s me circa 2003). A trip to the grocery store was a Grand Event, and required hours of planning. What time was the best to go? How is the weather – how should I dress baby? I of course always erred on the cautious side, dressing my son in ridiculous layers. Next, figuring out where to park and finding a place to breastfeed and diaper change at the grocery store. A multi-faceted, challenging endeavour to say the least.
Catching a glimpse of that girl, I felt both relieved and nostalgic. I miss that time in my life; that brief period when it was just me and my baby, out to conquer the world. I remember the most mundane things I did with him with so much incredible detail and fervour. Now he’s a big brother who helps me so much with his sisters. And I’m no longer a mother of babies, but a mom of kids – kids who have schedules, loud opinions, big personalities. I have companions when I’m alone, and noisy love around me all the time .
She’s still inside of me – that flustered new mom with only complete love and adoration (and exhaustion of course) in her eyes. I can’t keep my kids from growing up; it’s happening so rapidly before my eyes, and with that comes so much joy. But I will never forget the ecstasy of those early days, and I will hold fiercely to those memories forever.