January 17th, 2015. 7:27 in the morning. The sun was rising. My mind tuned out the world, and for about four seconds during my final push, all was silent to me. Then all at once, the silence was broken with the most beautiful sound I had ever heard; my baby girl let out a cry as she took her very first breath. Time stopped.
There she was. Perfect, pink, scrunched up, and breathtakingly beautiful. And she was ours. We smiled with tears running down our cheeks as we savored that moment.
And then I made the biggest mistake of all:
Oh, I know you’ve heard it before; “Don’t blink. They’ll grow up so fast!” You smile and nod in agreement, because you can feel how quickly time seems to be passing. But you don’t really know. Not until it’s too late.
You don’t know that one day as you cuddle your sweet infant, that the next day she’ll be squirming out of your arms, wanting to explore the world; or that while today she is cooing, tomorrow she will form words.
As I sit here reflecting on her first year; thinking on all that she has learned and how she has changed into her own little person- complete with joy, stubbornness, and the silliest sense of humor; I can’t help but think that it really did go by so much faster than any other year of my own life. There’s no way to truly describe it to those that haven’t experienced it. I wish that I could.
I wish I could warn the parents that come after me of the reality that time truly passes quicker. Maybe if they understood, they could somehow slow it down.
But of course, it wouldn’t matter. The time would continue to pass as quickly as a vapor.
It makes me wonder… As I go on and on about how fast the first year went, do my own parents listen and think, “Just you wait… It just keeps going faster and faster”?
I think that they do. They know. They’ve been there. And they know that no matter how often they tell me it goes by so quickly, that I have no idea just how fast.
And so, as I celebrate my first lightning speed year of motherhood, I will continue to take notice of those seemingly small, special moments. The ones where you’re very aware that the moment is fleeting. The ones where you take in the sights, sounds, and smells.
I will file away the sound of her giggles, the smell of her hair or her fingers after she’s eaten her favorite maple and cinnamon crunchies. I will hug her a little tighter, and I won’t wipe away her extra slobbery kisses; those are the best ones, you know. When she’s so tired that she falls asleep in my arms, I won’t rush to transfer her to her bed. When she throws her food on the floor, I will respond in patience, and I will notice the sparkle in her eyes as she watches in amusement as the dog comes running. I will respond to my phone less, and play patty cake more. I will continue to tell her that I love her and am proud of her 187 times a day.
While the moments may pass by way too fast, they are never lost. Not with a mother. Time is fleeting, but we are making the most precious of memories. They’re in my heart, locked down and treasured forever. Much like my darling’s very first breath.
Happy first birthday, my sweet baby girl. I love you more.