There’s a country song that my dad loves to quote for me every time I get ahead of myself.
Like when I decided to move to Maine at 17 to live with my aunt and uncle at their summer home and wait tables to save for school.
Or when I adopted a puppy my senior year of college.
Or when I got engaged at 23, bought a house 6 months later and got married a year after that.
He reminded me of it especially when I had a baby at 25, and spent more nights than I care to remember crying on the phone – desperate for sleep, comfort and reassurance.
The lyrics read:
You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this
When you have a new baby, and you’re in the haze of sleep deprivation and diaper changes and purple crying, you hear these words a lot. You hear them from your parents, from fellow parents, from the cashier at Target and the barista at Starbucks. You even hear them from people who aren’t actually parents yet and you have to use every ounce of your remaining energy to prevent yourself from castrating them.
But I never really understood, until now.
Because this time, it’s the last time.
It’s the last time I’ll close my eyes, bear down, and bring new life into the world. It’s the last time that tears will roll down my cheeks as I watch the man I love fall in love with his brand new daughter. It’s the last first kiss. The last fresh baby smell. The last little newborn nuzzles on my chest, searching for sustenance.
This time, nobody has to tell me I’ll miss this.
Because I already do.
Every snuggle, every kiss, every middle of the night wake up I am overcome with gratitude and desperation. I am overwhelmed by fear that time is moving too fast. That I’ll never get these moments back.
This time, as I sit with my beautiful baby and listen to other new mothers confess their frustrations and sleeplessness and worry and doubt I feel guilty for feeling none of those things.
I feel overwhelmed with joy. I feel calm. I feel happy. I feel healthy and peaceful and right where I’m meant to be.
And nobody is more surprised than me. The girl who never thought she wanted kids, let alone two. The one for whom motherhood has never felt natural – until now.
I’ve been around long enough to know that when it comes to life, and babies, everything is temporary. The joy I feel today may turn to angst tomorrow. Four hours of sleep might dwindle to just one or two. And this feeling of completeness, it could quickly become a feeling of complete chaos.
But I have to believe that there is something genuine about this calm, content and grateful version of myself.
Maybe it was the easy delivery. Maybe it’s the hormones. Maybe it was my low expectations of myself as a mother.
Or maybe Lucy’s gift to our family is making me feel like the mother I never believed I could be.
For the first time in my life I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
Thank you little Lucy, for completing me, and for completing our family.
We love you more than the sun is far away.
Hannah, Dan, Mia and Harley