Don’t listen to the grocery store lady. You know the one standing in line behind you. She’s older than you are, likely showered that morning, has a clean shirt, real pants, and a purse. Do you remember purses? Those pretty accessory things that carry a wallet, phone, keys and a lipstick? She’s staring adoringly at your baby as you try to get yourself through the self-scan because you don’t want a cashier to see your leaking boobs. “Oh treasure every moment when they’re small like this,” she says, or some other similar, inane comment that makes you want to slap her.
When you have a child, this woman (and man) will be everywhere reminding you how fast time goes by and that you must ensure you soak it all in. Here’s the thing, you can’t and aren’t supposed to be doing that right now. Right now, you are surviving, sleeping when your mind gives you a chance and learning. Learning so much about yourself, your kid and parenting that you feel like you are about to bust. Really who knew a snot sucker was a real and useful tool? You might have a moment to sniff their always sweet smelling heads, despite the mashed peas in their hair, but you aren’t treasuring a damn thing right now. So don’t kill yourself trying.
There is time for this but it’s not in the middle of the journey. Treasuring your baby happens in the brief time where you have successfully completed the course on infancy, been handed your final grade (they are alive and seem to have bonded to you), and just before you move on to the next stage. It is these brief in between periods where we get to recall all the amazingness of what just happened. Like realizing two months after a holiday how wonderful and life changing it actually was, so you look longingly and fondly at the photos, remembering the sun on your skin, the missing luggage, and the triumph of navigating a foreign transit system.
Your memory will pick and choose for you, all of those precious moments. They will pop up unexpectedly and you will also recall them with joy in quiet moments that I promise you you will one day have again. No, you will not be able to hold all of that small sweetness again, but don’t worry, you held plenty of it. Your arms will remember how it felt. The feathery light softness of those baby hairs against your lips is not something your mind will allow you to dismiss.
Don’t be angry with the grocery store lady. Be delighted for her as she stands there, soaking in the joy of your baby for you and getting lost in her own memories.
And then buckle up, the wild ride isn’t over yet, this is just the top of the roller coaster, you’ve got a couple of loop the loops coming your way.