This past weekend I had one of those moments - those moments when time stands still and you get a sudden blast of perspective.
We were at a one-year-old's birthday party and it was time for pizza. Liam and Jack plonked themselves down at the table and proceeded to stuff their faces with pizza while Keith and I relaxed at the other side of the table... and all the other first time moms looked on with a mixture of horror and envy as they tried to feed their picky one-year-olds!
And I felt... a small pang of triumph, not over those moms, but over the fact that I'm not there anymore. Believe me, my kids can be very hard to feed. Negotiations with a four-year-old at the dinner table can match what goes on between any world powers I'm sure. And sometimes Liam doesn't even like pizza and refuses to eat it, yes even at birthday parties. But at this particular birthday party he and Jack plunked themselves down and fed themselves and it felt like a hard won moment of triumph over the hours and days and weeks and years of up in the middle of the night feedings and worrying about weight gain and whether they are eating enough and pureeing your own baby food and waiting three days before introducing a new food and making sure to avoid peanuts and strawberries and honey and watching out for choking hazards and just plain worrying about eating. And even if you're not worrying, it still takes up so much time and energy that first year!
So yes, first time moms. One day your child will sit themselves at the table and feed themselves a piece of pizza. I hear that eventually they can even make themselves breakfast while you continue to sleep in! And I know my kids may look impossibly large to you (they do to me too) but you will get there faster than you know.
We had a pretty easy first year as parents. Aside from a couple of scares about weight gain Liam was about as easy going as they come, for a baby. But I remember his first birthday and a similar feeling of triumph - of "we made it" and "we survived." I think the first birthday is as much about the parents as it is about the child. Every stage is a great stage and every stage has its challenges and its triumphs. Some things get harder but some things get easier.
Not every moment will be wonderful and filled with triumph. In fact the word "dignity" will lose all meaning, or at least any resemblance to any meaning it had before. You don't have to make memories all the time and you don't have to be perfect. But if you can be open to seeing and capturing and relishing some of the moments you have, the days can pass by just a little easier and with just a little more joy.
As we get into the full blown holiday season I want to remind you that sometimes it's the little moments, not the lavishly orchestrated and much hyped big moments that really get you.
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