I wish I had a minute of sleep for every time someone said this to me. I know you’re remembering your own little ones. I know you're trying to tell me that when it gets so hard, to not lose perspective, that I'll look back in just a few months and ache for the small newborn resting on my chest.
Having a baby is having all of life's most bittersweet moments come at you one after the other, piling on top of each other.
The pain of childbirth and the joy of the new life.
Trading casual late nights out for late nights in and early morning snuggles.
Saying goodbye to your sweet newborn, but getting to see your tiny, helpless baby transform into a child who is quickly learning to talk, crawl, explore.
Watching them furrow their brow and concentrate. Introducing them to your favorite things, and finding out they have their own favorite things.
I know how fast and fleeting this is. But knowing that can't help me stop time. All I can do is soak it in, knowing that one day I will long to hold my crying baby in my arms for just one minute, that I’ll look at my clean living room and miss the curious child spreading his toys everywhere, that I’ll take a shower without someone yelling “MAMA” and feel a pang of sadness at my quiet house.
So I try to soak in those sweet baby moments while they last. When he . When he reaches up and put his palm on my lips while nursing, asking for a kiss. The softness of his hair. His big, gummy-except-for-two-teeth smile.
But sometimes it's too easy to get lost in the cherishing, too easy to hold desperately and fearfully onto , dreading its passing. When everyone tells you “these are the best days” and “it goes so fast!” it can strike fear into your heart, knowing how fast each moment has already gone by.
But, mama, there is so much to look forward to in the coming days and years, too.
I'm so excited to see him grow and learn. To help shape him and see what kind of man he will be—what he will pursue, what will drive him. What my sweet and social baby will be like as an adult.
I don't want these to be the very best days. That would mean in 18 years, my best days will be long behind me. Instead, I want to use these days to mold my child's life, but also mine and my husband's, into a life filled with joy and love and adventure.
That doesn't mean anything extravagant, really. It's a million little things.
It's pouring love into my child so that he can one day stand on his own, securely and confidently.
It's staying in and saving money so we can help build financial security for our future.
It's working hard at my job, including late nights and early mornings, so I can grow and maintain my career for when my house is quiet and my son can make his own lunches and I can shower by myself again.
It's my husband and I making time for each other, so we will enjoy the season in our lives when the kids are gone and we can spend our days together again, meandering at a store or leisurely eating dinner.
It’s even making time for myself—setting goals, exercising, reflecting, pursuing new things— so I can find both calm and fulfillment in the day-to-day. So I can be proud of a life well-lived.
I want to look back on these days with fondness and love, with a small child. But I hope that I look back with equal fondness on all the other moments in between—the first day of school, our conversations at dinner, my son as an adult standing on his own two feet—and am proud of him and of the life our family built together, one cherished moment at a time.
Allison Lore lives with her husband and son, Nathan, in Jacksonville, Florida.