“The days are long, but the years are short,” a friend told me when Stella was about six weeks old. She still had her nights and days mixed up, and I was a sleep-deprived ball of hormones. I remember thinking at the time every day as “the witching hour” approached around 5:00 PM, “How does this get easier?” “Will I ever sleep again?” “How do people do this multiple times?”
My sister-in-law said to me, “Trish, it’s all about ages and stages. Just when you get her to sleep through the night, then the teething will start. And then she’ll be teething for about two to three years. And just when you get through that, there will be the next steps of potty training, and then school, and then, and then…” I couldn’t see it at the time. While I knew all of these developmental milestones were ahead of us, it was hard to imagine.
What I’ve learned over the last thirteen months is each age and stage has its highs and its lows.
For example, the newborn stage comes with highs of a brand new, sweet smelling baby who is squishy, cuddly and irresistibly adorable … and lows of sleepless nights, postpartum body/image issues, anxiety and hormones.
Then you blink and a whole year has passed by, and you’ve done it. You’ve found a way to appreciate each age for what it is, accepting the lows and celebrating the highs. Faith, patience, and a whole lot of humor are what will help us on this roller coaster called parenthood.
Last week I looked at Stella, so “grown up” looking all of a sudden. Just on the verge of walking, babbling up a storm, laughing out loud all the time and being generally all around adorable. I was putting her shoes on and she was holding my car keys. “OK, Dolly, let’s go, we need to get you to school,” I said, and as I took the keys out of her chubby little hand, she looked at me, eyes welling up with tears. She literally threw herself on the ground, hands slapping the ground, legs kicking wildly, screaming at the top of her lungs. Oh. My. Goodness. My daughter was having her very first temper tantrum. It hit me over the head like a ton of bricks. The transition from baby to toddler is happening, and with all the good that we are enjoying at this age and stage, this is going to be a part of it, too. Rules and discipline, and then, and then, and then…
Our ride is still just beginning. There will be tough times and tears, disagreements and challenges, but there will be smiles, giggles, and so many unforgettable memories made along the way. I might miss some sleep, but I don’t want to miss a single moment.