This morning my 3 year old little man climbed into bed with me. He laid his head down next to mine and brushed the hair out of my face. He said, “Mommy rest? Wake up Mommy”. Then he patted my face and climbed down, off to start an adventure in another room of the house.
There was a time not so long ago, I couldn’t even imagine this. Couldn’t fathom having a 3 year old. A tiny human that looks like an exact replica of his daddy, save for my nose. I dreamed about this day, wished for this day, prayed and cried for this day. Begged for this day. I shed too many tears, prayed an endless amount of prayers. And now this day is here.
Six years ago, I lost my first baby. At 9 weeks pregnant, I went into labor, and all my hopes and plans were dashed. I screamed, and cursed, and begged. I prayed. I tried to remember God giveth and taketh away, to praise Him no matter what. This was the hardest and darkest of times.
Flash forward 2 years, and I’m pregnant again. Spending all of my time hoping time will pass quickly so my baby would be here. Wishing away those long weeks of pregnancy, so I could just hold my sweet baby. He finally came and was beautiful, and wonderful, and sick. He had to be rushed to a children’s hospital and I couldn’t hold him for days. I begged and begged for that time to be over quickly so I could take him home. A few weeks later, it did.
Then we were in the throes of newborn-hood. Sleepless nights and difficult feedings. Colic and tears, on both our parts. I cried and begged for this time to move quickly, so we would all finally sleep again and feel sane. Then after a few months, it did. We got on regular schedules and were happy.
Then came teething. Teething is a sneaky devil straight from the pits. It turns an otherwise happy baby into a tiny, angry creature. No sleep, runny noses, and lots of crying. I tried to enjoy the extra cuddle time, but I found myself saying, “I can’t wait until teething is over, man life will be much easier.”
Next came tantrums and “the terrible twos”. Everyone said it would be over quickly, but I know every parent everywhere thinks- “Yes! “But it feels like an eternity!” “Help! This parenting gig is much harder than I thought!”
Now, he’s 3. We were sitting together on the couch the other day and I looked down. I looked at his long, thin fingers and thought, “Where did those chubby baby hands go?” “Wasn’t he a baby yesterday?” We were carrying on a conversation- and I missed those little baby squeals and giggles. How I long to cuddle that tiny newborn in my arms again. I cried, realizing I’d wished away all that time, praying it would get easier. And it did.
Hindsight, my friends. All those times people told me to cherish these moments because they would soon be over, and I didn’t listen. I was talking to a friend just yesterday and she said she notices this much more with a second child, realizing how quickly the time went with the first. As a Mom of One, I was saddened to hear this. I will never get this chance. But this gave me a new goal. Cherish each step from here on out.
We’re given approximately 18 years to cherish our child. Instill them with values and teach them right from wrong. To raise them from tiny, adorable babes to actual adults. Let’s not wish for this time to go quickly. I always use to hate when people told me to enjoy it because it goes quickly. But, now I’m begging you- ENJOY IT! IT GOES TOO QUICKLY!
Remember when you rock that little to sleep, this may be the last time they need you to. This may be the last time they have a bottle/get nursed. Maybe their last tooth that comes in. Last word of gibberish. Hug them and cherish them. Enjoy them.