My son was about three months old when I came across the blurb in a magazine.

“There are 940 Saturdays before your baby turns 18, and 260 of them are gone by his 5th birthday.”

The blurb was on the side of a page, near an ad selling some sort of baby product I’ve since forgotten.

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I scrambled to my feet, grabbed my kitchen scissors, cut out the words, took a magnet, and put them front and center on my fridge. I wanted to see them each day.

As a working parent, I realized quickly how precious those baby Saturdays were. They were the long stretch, minute by minute, staring at my baby’s face, snuggling, breathing top of his head, seeing every smile, and nursing every feed days. I cherished them early on, but like most new parents, I was also exhausted.

I wanted these words to remind me to bathe in the moments. Even the tired ones.

I wanted to remember to dance with my baby in my arms every Saturday morning.

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Nearly eight years and a second son later in my parenting journey, and I feel the press to share a secret about this blurb to the parents at home with a sweet-smelling cherubic babe—it’s so many fewer Saturdays than we are led to believe.

The slow crawl, meandering hours, and nap-filled Saturdays of babydom are soon replaced with hurried moments, uniforms on, swimsuits in bags, fields of kids ready for games, cars coming and going, laces tied, music lessons, and playdates.

The rest of the world starts to get them and their Saturdays. And sometimes you feel cheated.

I still remember us dancing in the living room, moving through the day at our own pace, with only us in the world. Now I share them with their teammates, coaches, and friends down the block. And I do get jealous, but I also know this is their life to live.

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And though the blurb got replaced on the fridge by preschool projects and school calendars and eventually lost in a home move, I carry the sentiment with me. Though I share them with the wider world now, their Saturdays are still here, we are still sharing a roof and I get to participate in their world now. I get to watch them navigate their Saturdays.

For that, I’ll keep dancing, only beside them now as they are too big to hold in my arms.

Theresa McArleton

Theresa McArleton is a writer who spends the majority of her life playing in, talking about, developing, and thinking about parks. She is fortunate to do this for a living as a Parks & Recreation Director in Michigan as well as at home with her two young sons and husband.