“The days are long but the years are short.”
These have to be some of the truest words ever spoken if you are a parent.
When my daughter was very small, most nights I would put her to bed and be so glad that the day with her was over. I was never very good at the ‘baby days’. I struggled with the 24 hour responsibility and I missed my old life. Of course I loved her dearly, but I longed for a glimpse of my old life and the person I used to be.
Now I look at her, ready to start school this September, and I wonder where that tiny sweet little person has gone. She only exists now as a memory. Yes those days were very long- often days of constant crying, nappy changing, food being thrown at me; but how quickly they disappear. That sweet, chubby little girl is now my big girl.
Growing up fast, I look at her and often think how far we have come from the days when I used to struggle with the pressures of having a little baby. How far we’ve come and the fact that those days are gone forever.
So I’ve made a pact with myself. That I will take time each day to think on something really good and precious about her- and hold onto that thought. Here are some of my most special memories with her. They might not seem anything special but to me they are:
1. When we wiped snow off the car and for some reason she (aged 9 months) thought this was hilarious- she laughed out loud, a real little- person- laugh.
2. When we walked around the shopping centre for the first time after she started walking (around 20 months). She was no longer a tiny baby in a buggy, but a real little person who could finally walk
3. When I was cooking lunch and she put her baby doll in her toy high chair and got a lettuce leaf and toy cup for her baby’s lunch- the first time she showed she could care for someone else’s needs (even if it was a toyl!)
4. Just after she was potty trained, I heard her use the toilet, flush it and wash her hands- all by herself. No more nappies!
5. When she said ‘please’ unprompted
6. She sang a lullaby to her toy pig and told him “its ok, go to sleep”- which we heard on the baby monitor when she was supposed to be sleeping!
No they might not seem like much to anyone else, but these are the thoughts and memories of my little girl that I will hold onto forever.
So my advice to mums is to pinpoint your special memories- however small: a smile, a funny expression, an amusing comment; keep them in your heart or better still write them down. And when you’ve had the mother of all days, refer back to your list and remember that your little one is growing up before your eyes and these precious days will soon be over.
Yes motherhood is hard- the hardest job you will ever do, the biggest sacrifice you will ever make. But it is also the greatest joy you will ever know.