We’re approaching Birdie’s first birthday and I’m feeling nostalgic. Okay to be fair, I feel nostalgic everyday since having her. I keep wondering if this is hormones or is this just the new me? Will I feel weepy and sentimental about every last thing she does from now until forever? Because if so you need to warn me, mostly so I can warn Chris.
I was told it “goes too fast.” Of course I was, it’s the thing people like to say. “Enjoy these years,” older couples always say to Chris and I when they see us out with Birdie, “they’re tiring, but they go so fast.” And so I went into motherhood prepared for this, even though I didn’t fully understand it, I was going to have a grasp on it.
I was going to “have a grasp” on so many things as a new mom. Lol. Here I am nearly twelve months later and I assure you, I have a grasp on nothing. But most of all, it’s the time that gets me.
Yes, it goes fast. But then again it’s the same as it’s always been, right? Nothing has technically changed there. The real kicker for me, the thing no one warned me about, has been how acutely aware I’ve become of time passing. I have an actual timestamp in front of my eyes that changes daily and her name is Birdie. And even though I do my very best to live in the moment, (while also keeping track of those nap windows) for whatever reason I seem to find myself still longing for the moments that have passed- no matter how hard they may have been. How do the nine month clothes no longer fit? How did summer go fast? Where did September go?
I’ve always asked these questions but they somehow feel different now. Like I was okay letting go of my own summer, but Birdie’s FIRST summer? We must hold onto that forever.
Does that make any sense? Probably not. But I’ve learned not a lot about motherhood makes sense to me. How did I go from being someone who had never held a baby for more than a minute, wasn’t sure if I even wanted a baby for so long, to the person I am now who gets sentimental over seeing a pair of teeny tiny Converse sitting near our door at the end of the day?
I’ve got this cheesy little book that sits on Birdie’s bookshelf called, “Letters To My Daughter,” I guess it’s more like a journal because I fill it in. I ordered it a week before she was born and envisioned all of the sweet things I’d write to her.
And I really killed it with the first entry, all of the “sweet things,” came pouring out. (Of course you have to get past my crappy handwriting first in order to make sense of it, but once you get used to reading at a downward slant, it’s pretty okay.)
But after that first welcome entry, all of the posts seem to be reminders posts to myself. To my “future self,” to be specific. Things like,
“Dear Birdie, I’m writing this to remind my future self that I cherished this moment. I held you a little longer even after you fell asleep, rocked you a few more times, I’m tired but I know all of this won’t last. I also know that two months from now I’ll look back on a photo or put away an outfit and wonder if I let time slip away, so I’m just here to remind myself I DID NOT.”
Yes, sometimes I even use caps to yell myself. So this is either a display of very narcissistic behavior; the fact I’ve turned my “letters to my daughter” journal into a “crazy rants to my future self,” journal, or a sign of the way I’ve been desperately trying to hold onto something that no one, and I mean no one, is allowed to hold onto– time. Perhaps a little of both.
I bought baby books (and actually put stuff in them) took footprint molds, handprint molds, booger molds, captured daily pics, videos, whatever I could do! Because as soon as I had Birdie and realized this new version of me was a sentimental maniac my plan was simple, I’d capture every moment and then I’d never feel like I let one I got away.
Yet month after month, as I put more outfits into storage that no longer fit, the ache is still there. And I know, I know, I romanticize things way too much, it’s one of my favorite toxic mom traits I’ve developed. It’s a constant battle in my head where I feel the pressure to MAKE THE MOST OF EACH DAY, while also just trying to make it to that next nap.
I sometimes hear my saner side screaming, chill out! This is how it goes, babies grow up. Not every day needs to be scrap booked. And I take a breath. I’m fine. I get a little reminder of how I was pre Birdie, when days were just days. October was just October. Let autumn be autumn… a phrase (or something very similar) coined by @morganharpernichols.
Then we go on a walk and an older couple approaches us and says, “CHERISH THESE DAYS!!!” And the panic sets back in.
AM I CHERISHING THEM? AM I? There is so much pressure to cherish all the things.
But I am. I know am. I have notes from my past self yelling at me to confirm it.
I am also exhausted. It’s okay to be both.
And just like that the afternoon nap is over and I’ve got to go. Which is a good, because I think I’ve shared too much. It’s got to be the hormones, right?