Motherhood is full of moments. Moments that are new, moments that are scary, moments that are frustrating, moments that are full of emotions. Motherhood is this string of moments that sometimes just seem like one long, everlasting moment.
Sometimes you wish for these moments to disappear forever. You wish some away so desperately because they’re hard. Sometimes you wish you could remember what you felt like in certain moments because things happen so quickly. Time is so accelerated within motherhood. Sometimes you wish you could relive the moments over and over and over because they’re so full of love.
Tonight, I had a moment.
It was a moment with a familiar emotion, but it’s an emotion I have a difficult time describing. It was a moment that I have a difficult time explaining. But it’s worth noting because I know every mom feels this. I know we all have these moments.
It’s this moment of realizing that your child is yours. That your child is growing. That your child is maturing. That your child isn’t little anymore. They’re these moments you realize…it’s happening. They’re becoming…them.
It’s this moment that I can only describe as one of those “sneaky moments,” because for me, it’s an emotion that totally sneaks up on me and surprises me from time to time. It overwhelms me.
These moments aren’t to be confused with those of “firsts.” Not like their first word, first step, or first day of school. They aren’t to be confused with moments we’re flooded with pride because of good grades, or a good game, or where their kind heart shows. It isn’t that feeling of simply feeling how much you love them or appreciate their existence.
No. None of those are the same.
Tonight, as I was watching my daughter get ready for bed, she put on some music — this song “Capsize” which she loves. She sang every word, words that I couldn’t quite make out, but she knew them. She sang these words with such passion and confidence. She was brushing her hair and singing as she looked in the mirror.
She didn’t know I was watching. I was just observing her. All 4 feet, 5 inches of her 8-year-old self. All 74 pounds of her.
It wasn’t anything new or out of the ordinary. But I had that sneaky moment. That moment where her life kind of flashed before me.
That moment where I realized she is the same human who was once 7 pounds, 2 ounces, in my arms. The one I didn’t know what to do with as a newborn. The toddler who loved the word “uh-oh” and hated sleep. The one who loved her purple baby and her green hospital pacifiers. The one who hated PE in kindergarten and didn’t want to learn how to ride a bike until she was almost 7. This is that same little, tiny human who grew inside of me. None of this felt possible in this moment. It didn’t feel real.
These moments take my breath away because it’s kind of too much to take in. It’s too much to reconcile in my mind that this is happening, this tiny human is growing up and becoming a bigger human. In these moments, it’s when I’m blindly reminded that I’m responsible for who she’s becoming and that she’s who she is because of me — the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s these moments where I catch a glimmer of me in her actions, or her body language, or her mannerisms.
It’s in these moments that I feel cheated because I let too many moments go by without noticing.
You know these moments?
I’ve had these moments before, like the time she told me she was embarrassed when I kissed her outside her classroom this past year. And like the time she told me I didn’t need to walk her to class anymore. Or even in less obvious moments, like the one tonight, and sometimes it’s happened when she simply says something like, “Bye, Mom. I’m headed out to play. I have my watch-phone on if you need me.”
Some days, these moments pass me by without evoking that feeling of sneakiness. They’re just another moment of motherhood. But these sneaky moments, they’re real. They’re powerful. They’re beautiful, magical, scary, and almost frustrating all at the same time. Frustrating only because you know one thing is for sure: You can’t rewind, there is no replay. This is it. It’s happening.
I’m certain some moms have these moments more than others. I’m sure maybe these moments don’t even feel sneaky to other moms like they do to me. But I know we all know these moments. These moments, they’re different. They’re defining. They’re earth shattering, to some degree. They’re sobering because you’re reminded of the tremendous job we have as moms. The enormous and wonderful responsibilities we have to these little humans.
These moments are teaching us. Sit with these moments and listen. Absorb these moments. These moments are telling us ever-so subtly to slow down. And they’re also telling us we are doing one hell of a job.
Don’t blink, mamas. The moments are all around us.
This post first appeared on Scary Mommy