“Enjoy these days!” “You’ll miss these cries!” “Eighteen years go by in a flash!” “The days are long, but the years are short!”

Don’t I know it. I appreciate the reminders, but what I’d really like you to tell me is how to make the time slow down.

Just yesterday the doctor placed all five tiny pounds of my daughter into my arms. Today she’s trying to climb into her stroller all by herself: “I do, Mommy.”

Just yesterday I was nursing her at three in the morning. Today she’s drawing with crayons and eating French fries at the dinner table.

Just yesterday she learned to scoot and hold her head up. Today she’s running toward me in her gold moccasins, arms outstretched for a giant hug.

How do we slow down these seconds, moments, days?

The constant reminders of how quickly time goes by help me through the tantrums and refusal to eat anything other than buttered pasta.

For one day, my daughter will outgrow her baby bows and will pick out her own outfits.

One day, she will skip off to preschool.

One day, she will be able to read books all on her own.

One day, she will cook her own pasta, and she might even eat it with something other than butter.

One day, she will prefer watching movies with her friends over reading books snuggled on my lap.

One day, but not today.

Today, I will take a ridiculous number of photos and videos to document everything she does.

Today, I will scoop her up in my arms and nuzzle her soft little nose.

Today, I will play in the bath with her even though I just showered, because it means the world to her.

Today, I will dance with her in the kitchen instead of fretting over every single thing she eats (or doesn’t eat).

Today, despite the exhaustion and the gray hairs parenting so generously doles out, I will be grateful for each and every moment I get to enjoy my baby while she’s still small.

Today, I will embrace the days ahead instead of worrying about the days that have passed.

Time goes by whether we like it or not. All we can do is be present, live for the moment, and be excited for the fun that lies ahead. We can’t slow the minutes down, but we can do our best to make each one count.

Instead of scrolling through Instagram when Penny climbs in my lap and hands me Rotten Ralph to read for the fifteenth time that day, I can kiss her head and breathe in her sweet baby scent.

Instead of counting down the minutes until bedtime, I can help her bake imaginary cakes in her kitchen, and soak up the sound of her giggles as I pretend to devour them.

Instead of forcing her to sit in the cart at the grocery store so I can get my errands done quicker, I can let her walk and watch in wonder how she must study each jar, box, and bag of food she sees.

And on those occasions when my husband and daughter are out doing something together and I have a rare few moments alone, I can reflect on what a remarkable journey being a parent truly is.

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Lilly Holland

I'm a writer and stay-at-home mom to Penny, 15 months. Prior to spending my days with my daughter I was an elementary school teacher. After teaching, writing and being a mother became my full-time job and I haven't looked back since. Follow me on my website or Twitter