We just celebrated my youngest daughter’s first birthday, and I’m feeling ALL the feels. It’s obviously a very happy milestone. As a family, we’ve overcome more than a few obstacles this year and we’ve managed to keep everyone fed, clothed, and mostly happy in spite of it all. Yay for us!
On the other hand, I know that this will likely be my last baby. And a year has come and gone already? I don’t even know how that happened. Much of it was a sleep deprivation-induced blur. I’m feeling nostalgic and a little sad as I look back and think to myself: Did I make the most of it? What if I forget all the sweet little moments that make having a little baby who needs me every second of every day so worth it? What if I forget the day-to-day, mundane stuff that is equally precious, but that most people forget to document?
We live in an era of smart phones where we capture photos and videos of almost everything, but there were several things that I experienced with my first that I had completely forgotten all about until I noticed them again the second time around. That means this time I have to do a better job of documenting those little things.
A few of the things I never want to forget about having a newborn that, for some reason, they didn’t leave a page for in my baby books.
How baby cuddles feel. Well, duh. This is obviously one of the best reasons to have a baby in the first place. But the phase where your little squish is most happy snoozing on your chest is so fleeting. I never want to forget how it feels to have those sweet breaths on my skin. Then there’s the pure joy that comes from knowing that there’s no one and nothing in the whole world that is more calming and soothing to this little being than being close to her mama.
How they smile in their sleep. Yes, there will come a time when watching your kids sleep becomes a little creepy (like if you’re peeking into their college dorm room through a window). But when they’re new and little, it’s hard not to sit and stare at them, completely amazed. When my little ones were tiny babies, I barely put them down. I just loved holding them close and being completely awestruck that I had some part in creating such perfection. I was always delighted when I’d catch a quick smile spread across their faces. I still wonder what they were dreaming about.
How they grunt when they poop. I think God must have known that new mamas would need some comic relief and that’s why he made babies grunt like that when they poop. I don’t know how it could be SO hard to poop when your poop is so, well, liquid. But the grunting and the squished up faces made me laugh every time. It almost makes the blow out diapers that follow worth it. Almost.
How they are delighted by things we take for granted. You know that mobile you spent $100 on because it totally completed the nursery? It isn’t nearly as interesting to as the ceiling fan (even if you bought it from Pottery Barn!). Or the sunlight streaming in through the window. Or your dog running across the room when she hears you open the bag of treats. Babies notice things that we’re so used to, we might not even see them most of the time. Babies notice these things, and they appreciate them with such wonder, eyes like saucers, that you can’t help but take a closer look yourself and see the some hidden beauty in it, too.
How you feel as you witness every single “first.” There will come a day that things like walking, talking, eating foods, etc. will just be normal things that my kid does. But for now, every time she learns a new skill (walking, for example) I’ll squeal with delight, clap my hands, and try to take a video. Then, after I put her to sleep at night, I’ll think about how that means she’s one step closer to growing up and it will make me just a little bit sad.
Now, just a few days after my baby’s first birthday, I’m reminded that motherhood is a big mix of complex emotions–great joys and great frustrations, ups and downs, gravity and levity. I know there will be a million little moments that I’ll take for granted and then later forget before my girls grow up and move out.
It’s impossible to remember it all. So, I’ll just soak up what I can, be grateful for lessons I learn along the way, and try to enjoy the ride. If I’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s that life is too short not to jump at every opportunity to delight in the mundane moments and be in the here and the now.