We are all reminded not to live in the past, but I have to guard myself against being stuck in the moment.
I find myself regularly trying to freeze instants.
Wanting to remember this feeling, those chubby cheeks and dimples, that sweet hug, the funny saying and cute pronunciation in that tiny voice, forever.
It wont be like this for long, I am always reminding myself.
There is no time I desire to freeze more than the weeks and days leading up to my kids’ birthdays. And as momentous an occasion as it is, the one year mark hits me especially hard.
Subconsciously (and irrationally) I want them to stay babies forever.
I had a friend tell me that though she never wanted any of her daughter’s “stages” (newborn, infancy, baby, toddler, etc.) to end, she realized that once she was in the next phase it was even better than the last.
How right she is. When I think of making it through those magical yet terrifying first few hours and days, I am so grateful to be on this side of them. Every new age and stage is mysteriously wonderful and the uncharted territory is fun to explore.
And then I think about my baby’s upcoming first birthday.
Where did the year go? It feels like he was born maybe a week or two ago. Where did the last year go? And then I think of all of those frozen moments. And how I can’t remember life without him in it. And how radically he changed our family dynamic.
I know where it went. If I close my eyes for one second I can picture all of those individually frozen moments. Flying past my eyes in a blur I see a tiny helpless, beautiful baby boy as he is placed on my chest for the first time. I feel his warm breath and soft skin.
I can smell his sweet scent when I picture that first night as I held him in my arms as he slept. I see a proud daddy and big brother. I see ecstatic grandparents and aunties and cousins.
There are lots of diapers and wardrobe changes and middle of the night family parties. I think of the worry, the peace, the crying, the joy. I see him sleeping sweetly for hours in his mama roo, in his stroller, in his car seat, in the sling, in our arms.
I watch as this baby lifts his head off his tummy time mat, rolls over, crawls, pulls up, stands unassisted and then takes his first steps in nine months time. I see dancing and climbing. Lots of climbing.
I see expressive eyes, cooing, the hint of a smile, babbling and laughter, and I watch as little lips blow kisses and form words. I see reflexes and tight grips and clapping, waving, patty cake and itsy bitsy. I touch dimpled knuckles and watch tiny toes curling and uncurling.
I see a suckling baby learning to nurse, gain 13 pounds from breast milk alone, then squeal with excitement as he tastes new flavors and textures, feeds himself and drinks from a cup.
I feel teething.
I see playmats and play dates and playgrounds. I see him running to try and play in the toilet, again. I hear the maternal heartbeat, vacuum cleaner and same three songs on repeat over and over in my head, calming a crying baby.
I hum “Dream a Little Dream.”
I see bouncing. And bouncing. And bouncing. I see patting and bath time and swimming. I see baby’s first Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines Day, and Easter.
And here it is, almost time for baby’s first birthday. I can tell you exactly where this last year has gone.
We’ve come a long way, baby.
And we’ve only just begun.