Everyone told me that being a parent is one of life’s greatest adventures. But, no one told me that there’s some heartache involved, too.
This past weekend, I had a moment where I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I started to cry. Just a little, and just for a moment, but the struggle was real. What was the trigger? Pigtails. (I kid you not.)
Let me set the scene for you.
Gracie’s hair is an adorable mix of curly in the back and straight in the front, and until last week, we’ve let her go all mad-scientist with it because she’s been reluctant to keep any sort of accessory in. Bows? Headbands? Forget it. As soon as they’re on, they’re pulled off. Until Saturday.
I decided to try pigtails on her, and for some unknown reason she actually kept them in. I ooh’d. I ahh’d. I cheered. “You look so adorable, Gracie!” I proclaimed, encouraging her to leave those little ties in for more than a minute. She smiled and pointed to her head saying, “HAAAIR!” as she kept playing, with her pigtails bopping as she went. And that’s when it happened.
She looked…older, somehow. Like a little girl. Not like a baby. As I watched her move around the room, saying various words like “Toys”, or “Happy!”, or “Uh ohh”, I realized just how fast it all has happened. All of a sudden she went from infant, to baby, to toddler. She’s talking now, for crying out loud. Is she really almost 20 months?! SHE’S BASICALLY AN ADULT. My baby is not a baby anymore and it’s really quite heartbreaking.
My heart felt so happy as I watched her, but it also felt a sadness I’ve never felt before. The realization that the baby years are fleeting is bittersweet. On one hand I’m beyond proud of her, eager for her to keep growing, and am excited about all the opportunity her life holds. On the other, I want to keep her my baby forever and to always have her need “Mommy” and “Dada”. I can only imagine how I’ll feel when she goes to pre-school for the first time, or her first sleepover, or doesn’t want to be held. Tears. Besides being overcome by emotion (an effect of motherhood, but 100% amplified by pregnancy, I’m sure), this weekend was wonderful. On Friday I had dinner at my friend Julie’s house with some girlfriends, Saturday we spent the day brunching and taking walks with my sister Mandy, and Sunday we went to the park and had a few friends over to celebrate the almost-70-degree weather in February. Gracie’s been battling what we thought was an average cold all weekend, but just last night it turned into a fever, so I’ve got my mothering hat on kicking off this week. Wish us luck as we battle this nasty sickness going around!
PS – Here’s a quote I love from Jessica Lange: “The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.”
PPS – Look for a reader survey this week! I’ve been sharing more about my life/motherhood in addition to style and am curious as to your thoughts.