Sure, babies are cute and snuggly. Innocent even. But underneath the sweet exterior lies a little jerk. That may sound harsh, but hear me out. It all began with my first baby. A son. A beautiful, healthy, and breathtaking creature.
In one of our middle of the night feedings when I was sleep deprived and bleary eyed, I made a pact with this seemingly trustworthy baby. I should have known better, we’d only known each other three days. Not nearly enough time. I should have known he was too new to understand anything about promise keeping. I couldn’t help myself though. I whispered to him as he laid in my arms silently and wide eyed. Looking up at me as if he’d known me forever. Like we’d always been searching for one another and now here we were, exactly as we were always meant to be.
I whispered “I promise to love you with everything that I am. I will be exactly what you need. And on the days I am not, I will work even harder to make it up to you. At times, I will fail epically, but I will always love you endlessly. I will be an example for you. I will shower you with affection and you will never live a day without knowing the joy you bring to my life and the strength you’ve given me to be a better human. Please don’t grow too fast though. I know you have to get older. We all do. I would never ask you to stay this tiny newborn forever. You need to grow, and so do I. But if you could please just take it easy. Tread slowly down that path on your way to independence and eventual adulthood. Don’t rush to grow up because once you’re there…well, you’re there, and there are no take backs. We can’t rewind the time. There are no do-overs. So let’s just go slow and try to enjoy every minute together. Okay?”
And then he wrapped his tiny, soft hand tightly around my finger, and I took that to mean he was on board. We basically had a handshake agreement. We’d do this whole mother-son routine in a kind of blissful slow motion. Not some kind of frazzled, fast forward experience that left me dizzy and dumbfounded. I certainly wasn’t going to be the cliche older woman standing in the grocery store telling new mothers to “Enjoy every moment because it goes so fast.” That wouldn’t be me because I’d worked out this deal where we weren’t rushing. It wasn’t going to go by too fast.
I thought we were both on the same page but apparently we were not only on different pages, we were also in different books. My little jerk turned eight recently, and I am both dizzy and dumbfounded by that reality.
The moral of this story is:
1. Don’t trust babies. They are liars.
2. If you think there is any slow leisurely way to do this whole mothering thing, you are wrong. It doesn’t matter how many times you stop and smell the roses or sniff the fragranced hair of your freshly bathed child. Time will race by at a clip that is far too fast to comprehend. In the end, you will be standing there staring at your too old boy (or girl) wondering where in the hell the time went.