Since Tessa was born we get stopped a lot. People tell me she’s beautiful. They like to dote on her. I totally get that. I, too, have a bit of a baby-staring problem. Sometimes I want to tell people, “No, it’s okay. I have a baby, too. It’s cool. I’m just checking out your baby. It’s all good.” Though come to think of it, I’m not sure this would help much.
One thing that I hear a lot during these encounters is “Treasure this time.”
It’s happened often enough that I’m now easily able to say, “Thanks. I do.” But it always makes me think.
I figure the story behind this statement is one of two things. Either 1) they’re a lover of little children and they miss them in their life, or 2) they weren’t great with their little children and now find that they missed out.
The second scenario is the one that leaves me a little queasy. Because I am not much of a baby person. You could go broader and say I’m not a little kid person. And here I am in the Years of Young Children.
Recently I’ve taken some comfort in recognizing that the Years of Young Children don’t last forever. I needed this comfort because in the thick of it it feels like this will be your whole life. Diapers and night feedings and irrational bargaining and constant requests for SNACK SNACK SNACK PWEEEEEZE.
It’s nice to look around and see people whose kids are older. It’s nice when they say, “I remember those days.” It’s nice when you see their not-so-little kids using complex sentences and building talents. It’s nice to know that someday that will be me. And I will be able to comfort another mother and say, “I remember those days.”
When someone tells me “Treasure this time” I have to wonder if they were like me and are wishing they’d done things different. But our little interlude never includes any words of advice.
So I’m starting the New Year without any specific plan to be a better mother. I’m just going to do what I can. I don’t know if I can call it “treasuring” this time. But I’m making it through.