Spring is just around the corner. Can you feel it? Certainly, at times, it may not seem so. But our longer days and frequent sunshine tell me it is. The seed catalogues are appearing in the mailbox, there’s less winter gear to be found in the stores, and blooms are growing on our windowsill — all signs that spring is making its way forward.
This slow, dark, cold winter. It’s so easy to just want it to go away. It’s easy, when the air is brisk and cold, to look forward to thoughts of growing things and sunshine and green grass. It’s so easy to rush through these moments, to pass them by, to think about the times to come.
The same can easily be said for parenting a little person. It’s so easy to pass on so many moments. Moments that can, at the time, be stressful, exhausting, and seemingly endless. Those new parent days of sleepless nights, of crying for some reason that we couldn’t quite figure out, of trouble with breastfeeding and feeling as if it would just never, never get better. Feeling like you’d never feel rested again, never have a full night’s sleep, never figure out this thing called “being a parent”.
Moments of feeling that your child is truly, really, absolutely, smarter than you — at two months old. Or two years old. Because they have it figured out and know what they want—milk! sleep! toys! food! clean diapers!—and you, the parent, definitely do not have it figured out. Moments where this little person suddenly hits a new milestone, a new stage of development and growth, and, once again, everything changes. Just when you thought that, for a minute, you had it figured out, it changes again.
Surely spring must be just around the corner, right?
And guess what? It is. It really is. No matter how long those sleepless nights and moments fraught with anxiety might seem, they really are suddenly gone. They pass so quickly. And then something else comes, something else begins, and you’re still there, still with this little person. It really does get easier. It really does change so very quickly. And every little, seemingly difficult moment, really is just a moment. And the next moment can be so different.
Like right now: I’m a mother with a two-year-old. A two-year-old! How did that happen? I don’t even know. It seems like yesterday I was breastfeeding non-stop, worrying about how much food he was getting and if he was sleeping enough, and feeling like all these moments would never end. And as exhausting as it all is, there is such an amazing beauty in taking each day, each moment, so simply. Just living each moment with your tiny person for the moment. Because one minute I had a tiny baby, and today I have a little person who tells me that he is not a baby, but rather, he is a boy.
No more baby.
Just like winter, these seasons too shall pass. But if you live in the moment, there are so many beautiful winter moments. Snowshoeing with your little person, first skate on the frozen pond, staying in for hot chocolate, having long cozy cuddles and story time in bed during a good snowstorm (or even on a nice weather day too — cuddles and stories should not be taken for granted!). And when this little person was still so tiny, there were also beautiful moments, winter moments, amidst all the chaos and longing for spring.
And then spring came. It all changes so quickly. The sleepless nights are (mostly) gone, and instead we’re trading them in for the occasional toddler tantrum — angsty expressions of “MINE!” and throwing things (particularly rocks, dishware, and iPhones). And as frustrating as all these little moments are, that’s all they are — just moments in time. One big deep breath, a giant cozy hug, and a little patience for the next moment to come — that’s all that is needed. That, and a dose of appreciation for this moment, this moment that is now. This moment where my angsty toddler has deep rosy cheeks from the winter cold, snot and hummus across his face, and beautiful swirls of curl patterned across his head. As frustrating as the rock-throwing and tantrums may be, there is always also something wonderful and amazing to focus on. And if we miss those moments, those focal points of beauty, then tomorrow they will be gone.
So while I look forward to a day without a tantrum, a full night of sleep, and a clean house someday, I’m also happy to just take in these crazy, chaotic moments. A deep breath and a cuddle from a cozy boy is really all I need right now. Because every time he says “Baby, no. No. No. Boy? Yes. Boy.” I melt into the floor. I have a longing for those days of babyhood, a wistfulness for the seasons that have already passed so quickly, and a realization that this too shall pass.
So very fast.
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