I mark the days by tiny milestones and barely-there changes in my son’s squishy baby wrists, or how much longer he stays awake, gazing at my face between feedings. I rejoice at his small accomplishments; I attach meaning to every gurgle and grunt.
“Treasure every moment,” we hear. “It all goes by so quickly.” But the truth is, I don’t want to treasure every moment—there are so many that aren’t sweet, aren’t seraphic. And I don’t think it makes me a terrible mother to say that I hope some moments do fly by—like the ones where I’m taking long walks in the middle of the night to console my desperately screaming child, or the ones where I have to let him cry those soulful, shuddering cries for just a few more minutes because how dare I take a shower!
Then I recognize the fleeting nature of those moments—of every moment. One of thousands, millions! I see all of them as fleeting moments in a timeline marching forward, forward, forward…
Sometimes I stand in my bedroom doorway watching Holden sleep. And somehow, through the fog of tiredness, strangeness, and disassociation that afflicts all new parents, I can finally imagine this little person becoming, well, a person—with desires and opinions, questions and passions.
With each tiny milestone, I see him inching further from me, and from Sam—from my body, from our lives, and closer to the person he will eventually become. I won’t treasure every moment, but I will own each one: the smallness, the sweetness, and every single challenge. This journey is ours.