It is impossible to follow all the parenting advice we get from the moment we announce that we plan to join The Club.
The toughest? “Enjoy every moment.”
There is a part of you that knows this advice comes from a place of nostalgia, from a parent who has forgotten all the miserable, tear-your-hair-out moments that go along with parenthood. And you don’t quite believe them that it goes by so fast when you want to throw up every single day for three months. It feels eternal. No way does this go by quickly.
But then suddenly you’re trying to figure out how to celebrate your baby’s first birthday, and you realize that yes, indeed, it did go fast. And slowly. So terribly slowly. The days are long, but the years are short. I say this constantly.
Still, if you’re like me and all the others who loved this Don’t Carpe Diem post, you
secretly openly despise all the Well-Meaning Idiots who tell you to enjoy every moment because even though it really does fly by, you still find it impossible to enjoy the airplane tantrums or the up-all-night illnesses.
Instead, I settle for enjoying several moments every enormously long day. I also keep trying to figure out ways to preserve those moments, so that even if I don’t enjoy them enough now, they’ll be around later when I can appreciate them more fully.
Here are Exhibits A and B.
These were just run of the mill moments. Little boys wishing to be bigger boys. Boys who wanted to go further, faster.
Of course I smiled as I snapped these pictures, but you know when I will really enjoy these moments for all they’re worth?
When he is six, zipping down the street on his own two-wheeler.
When he is sixteen, sitting behind the wheel with his very own license.
I will immediately think of these pictures and the moments they represent.
I will remember when they were smaller. When I could keep them safer.
I will revel in their little-boy joy and how broad their smiles were when I told them how “big” they were.
And I’ll enjoy my visit back to these moments before we all go speeding into the new ones.
I think that’s really the most we can expect of ourselves. To enjoy many, many moments now…
and save some for later.