Facebook memories like this bring all the feelings. This was Annalee’s 2nd birthday party. Violet was 3 weeks old. If I could go back there and cuddle with those two little girls again, I would in a second. But I also remember how hard it was.
Violet was the loudest baby ever. Her screams got over 100 decibels. For realz, I got an app on my phone to measure it because I needed validation that she was crazy loud. Violet was also in that stage where I was lucky to get 2 hours between feedings, and of course by that, I mean from the start of a feeding to the next start, so that really didn’t equate to much sleep for me.
Violet was born 10 days before Annalee’s birthday, and that was the first time I had been away from her overnight. I remember feeling sad leaving her in the middle of the night, when I was in labor, because I wasn’t going to be there in the morning. Of course, rationally, I knew she would be SUPER excited to see her Nana, but that wasn’t where my mind was. I felt terrible not being able to have her birthday party until later in the month. I think it’s funny I thought it would be any easier with a three week old, than a one or two week old. Yeah, she’s practically on solids, totally different. I spent those three weeks pinteresting like crazy for ideas for the party. Now when I look at the picture, I just think, really Carla? You needed to make a cake shaped like a cat, cupcakes AND cookies?? Yep, acts of service is my love language, and that’s how my momma soul felt better for not being able to give Annalee 100% of me anymore because she was not transitioning super well.
We thought it would be a great idea to get Annalee a toddler bed for her birthday. It. Was. Not. My husband worked crazy long hours back then. 15 hour days were like, yay, you’re home early! So needless to say, he was not able to be home for the girls’ bedtime. Annalee loved her new bed because she was a big girl, which when I look at this picture, I think no, she was still a baby! But she also started getting out of bed a thousand times instead of going to sleep. I would be nursing Violet, before putting her down in her bassinet in our room, and have to get up over and over with a baby attached to my boob and put Annalee back in bed. This led to tears from at least 2 of us every night. I am not saying this was my finest parenting hour. I am not making this recommendation for you, but this is just what I did because I was tired and over all the crying. I tied Annalee’s door shut when I put her to bed. Then I nursed Violet, and put her to bed. And then I untied the door. These are the guilt ridden throes of motherhood I was in.
So now I want to address that phrase every mother of young children hears, “Enjoy them while they’re little, it goes by so fast!” First, it’s quickly. Second, I know they mean well. I completely understand, they see us with our little ones, and think back to their now older children. In their mind, this small window of motherhood, when they are with you every second of every day (not in school, or driving, or grown up, whatever place their children are), went by too quickly, and are simply trying to impart on us to enjoy every second.
I hadn’t slept in forever and had a serious case of mom guilt. The early years with children are full of cuddles, cuteness, and the smell of baby shampoo, but they are also full of tears, not enough showers, and a lot of awful smelling diapers. So while they were looking fondly at me and my children who somehow through several aligned miracles made it out of the house, I actually had spit up in my hair, one of them had a dirty diaper already, and someone was probably crying. But yes, I smiled, and said thank you, I am enjoying every second. And really thought, thank God this doesn’t last forever.
I love being a mother. I honestly feel it what I was placed here on this earth to do. However, there is both joy and sorrow at every stage in this life. I miss those swaddled baby cuddles, but I don’t miss the screaming babies in the night. I miss wearing my babies in carriers, but I don’t miss blow out diapers. This dichotomy continues all the way up to my middle school aged son. His independence is both encouraging and terrifying.
Now, I have two mornings a week where all my kids are in school. It’s bizarre and glorious all at the same time. I can be at the grocery store, all by myself. And I see moms, knee deep in the babies, debating on whether to just leave without making it to the check stand. Do I want to tell her to enjoy every second because before long they’ll be in school? Nope.
When I look at this picture in my Facebook memories, I am thankful that I’m smiling. I feel a little teary about how I know my future self will look back on pictures from right now and feel that same pang for how little they were. So I say, enjoy today because that’s all we can do until time travel is invented, and take a ton of pictures to remember all the cuteness. Happy Saturday! Go do something fun your future self will enjoy looking back on fondly 😉