I knew this season wouldn’t last forever, and yet here we are – that cliche of “it feels like just yesterday…” I’m struggling to grasp that newborn days were almost exactly a year ago. With Finn’s first birthday only two weeks away, and as I’ve headed back to work, I’ve reflected a lot about what maternity leave was.
I have moments of realization of how much my thinking has changed when I notice the weather is grey and it’s going to rain any minute. Usually I’d be urging the clouds to dump the heavens on us, so we have an excuse to light a candle and make soup with a chubby baby splashing in the sink and the laundry tumbling in the dryer. Now as I glance out my office window as the rain taps on the glass, I feel sad it’s raining again and I wore the wrong shoes.
I am that “hindsight is 20/20 girl”. I over analyze every conversation, coffee date, joke I made, did I talk too much? (Yes, always yes) Did I give too much advice or did I listen well? Could I have taken a quicker route in traffic? I should have worn a different shirt, this one screams “MOM”. Everything. It’s probably out of insecurity. I’m always afraid I could have done something better or I could have said something smarter. I could have worked a little harder.
I am becoming aware that this isn’t healthy. It’s on my self improvement list of get over myself issues. But recently, for perhaps one of the first times in my entire life, I have finished something and I feel 100% proud of it. Even the not so proud moments feel totally fine without one ounce of regret. I’ve taken the entire bouquet, accepted every delicate, dainty, wilted and thorny flower in the bunch and admired the beauty of it’s entirety.
What exactly is this bouquet you ask?
I feel like I can recount every day like it was yesterday. Not the specifics of course, there were definitely more than a couple days where I didn’t brush my teeth all day that I’d like to forget, and a few where I was the snottier, whinier basketcase out of the two of us. But I reminded myself every moment, that these days would be gone faster than I could count. I vividly remember the winter rains howling outside my window in those first few murky weeks of new parenthood. Dawn would break and I could count on the relief of sleep that would take over my noisy newborn at 4:30-5:00 am. Jordan would wake up and take the early shift, then she would drift off and sleep till 9ish. I remember curling my sore, achy body around my tiny little newborn on our irritating couch (seriously, I am ALWAYS falling in the cracks) but too afraid of falling into too deep a sleep in my real bed and smothering my new tiny human (the nurses get a 10/10 for putting the fear of co-sleeping into you). So I’d pull the thin little quilt up to chest height, making sure not to cover her little face and think to myself “these days will never be again, look at her tiny ears, listen to her little billy goat sniffles, hold her tiny little newborn froggy legs against your chest, look at her peely little hands (weird I know – babies like, molt like lizards when they are newborns).
As she grew and we tackled teething and shots, there were cranky days that I very consciously gave up trying to get things done and hunkered down with my babe and snuggled and watched Netflix. We went on hikes with other mamas, we visited daddy and nanny at work. We went on spur of the moment road trips (as spur of the moment as they can be with a baby with as much gear as Beyonce). And each moment I thought to myself “enjoy this, it’s not forever”.
Don’t get me wrong there will (God willing) be more maternity/paternity leaves down the road, but never again will it just be me and one baby. Only one apple of my eye. Only one babe that has a rough night and so we just lay low the next morning, just the two of us.
I cherished every second, every tickle break and snuggling in bed for far too long on a weekday morning. Did I have a life? Yes. Did I go on dates with my husband? Yes. (I even shipped Jabba the Hutt off to Nanny and Papa’s house one time for an extended date night). I launched a blog somewhere in there as well. But my main focus, my whole goal, was to celebrate, nurture and savour all the tiny milestones, all the little steps. Hard, emotional, frustrating, and insanity inducing steps at times but I am so thankful I was present. I didn’t long for the next stage, I didn’t pine to be somewhere else. Don’t get me wrong, I had my moments of wondering “WHO LET ME LEAVE THE HOSPITAL WITH A TINY HUMAN, I AM NOT PREPARED. I MISS THE OLD ME. I MISS HAVING ONE SMALL PURSE!”, but I gave it my all and for that – my hindsight for the first time in my life is only full of thankfulness and memories.
I may never get the time back, but I feel it was spent consciously and for once in my life, I have no regrets.