Dear Moms and Dads of Wee Ones,
I know it has been many months of sleepless nights and all you want is to lay your head down at night and find uninterrupted peace. I know you are exhausted from breastfeeding and bottle preparation, and your sinks are filled with dirty rubbernipples and breast pump parts. It feels like all you do is change soiled diapers and wipe teary eyes. It takes you a half an hour just to pack a diaper back with the essentials so you can go out on the town for a measly hour.
You can’t get through a shower without your baby screaming at you to get out and pay attention to them again.
You take countless walks and pointless drives to get your baby to sleep because the crib just will not do.
Your days are filled with park playing and passing the time away building sandcastles in the sand box.
You administer many Band-Aids for bruises and scrapes and apply gentle kisses to help the pain go away.
I know these days are so very long and the years are short. You may feel like you will never sleep again. You may grow weary of hearing the sound of crying. You may not want to do any more puzzles at 5:30 a.m. or color in pictures of princesses or action heroes.
You are plenty done explaining the boundaries and rules to a small person who tests those efforts on a minute-to-minute basis.
It is exhausting when your baby throws the dinner you worked so hard to make on the ground for you to clean up.
But then at night you rock your baby to sleep with their small, warm body nuzzled perfectly into the shape of your body, like you will always work together in a perfect puzzle.
You smell your baby’s head because it always has that perfect aroma of newness and you know it goes away. Can you just bottle up that smell and carry it around in your purse for all of your days?
You just made a funny face, accompanied by a silly sound and your baby is in the throes of a full-blown belly laugh and you know that kind of sound is pure happiness.
You have never been known for your beautiful voice, but each day and every night your baby wants you sing “You Are My Sunshine” and “Twinkle, Twinkle” for the thousandth time. It puts her to sleep with a faint smile on her face.
I know better than to tell you that you must stop and appreciate this time with your baby because it goes quickly and you will never get it back. I will not tell you to enjoy every moment because then it is gone in a flash.
You don’t want to hear that right now.
I am here to tell you that one day you will be me and those moments will be behind you forever. Your baby gets too old for rocking and playing. They don’t appreciate your voice as much anymore as you belt out Taylor Swift with them in the car ride to school. They won’t tell you how much they love you a hundred times a day. Cuts and bruises turn into hormones and mood swings, which cannot be rectified with a Band Aide. The leisurely days at the park are replaced by rushing around to afterschool activities. Those hysterical belly laughs turn into eye rolls. Each phase of your child’s life morphs into new rewards and challenges for you to navigate.
Take it from a mom who already wishes she could rewind the clocks and appreciate those precious early days just a little bit more; you don’t know it now, but you are in a special place in life.
Now I have the responsibility to stop and enjoy these moments I am in now with my children. They are no longer wee ones, but they need me in other ways and they love me differently. Those ways are special and important too. I will remind myself of that each day, and I will appreciate this remainder of time they spend with me.