Last week I got to meet my newest niece, a two week-old bundle of sweetness and perfection. I held her and marveled at the miracle of new life.
I felt no pangs for another child of my own, but a twinge of sadness trickled through my veins as I mourned the loss of those sacred new beginnings. Even more though, I mourned the past moments I was too tired to enjoy, too overwhelmed to savor, and too wearied to embrace when our own girls were babies.
I wish I hadn’t found new motherhood so HARD, is what it comes down to.
Everyone said it would go by so fast and I didn’t believe them since the babies just kept on coming and we lived in an endless repeat of sleepless nights, soggy diapers, tantruming toddlers, and frozen pizzas for dinner four nights a week.
I look back at photos and am like, “That’s weird, I’m in the photo but don’t even remember having been there.” I was in such a fog, my eyes too bleary to really take it all in and feel any true joy, despite being surrounded by blessings. I am so thankful I didn’t endure postpartum depression, but the six straight years of sleep deprivation, plus the relentless challenges of parenting strong-willed kids, did leave me somewhat lost and blundering.
I love our girls beyond measure; it is a love that lives deep in my bones and my heart and my soul. But I thought I’d be better at staying home with them when they were little, that we would have had more fun; instead I was in survival mode. We made it through, but just by the skin of our teeth. So when I see new mommas who are able to savor and relish those early days, I am envious. I wish I could have been them.
I suppose we all do the best we can, right? And I do have today, to savor with them. To marvel at who they are becoming: all so beautiful and strong and wild and complex.
Babies don’t keep, do they?