I’ve come to realize being a mom means you find yourself in a state of perpetual heartache, while also experiencing unimaginable, overwhelming joy.
Each moment, every second—a bittersweet moment in time.
You find yourself torn between wanting her to grow and develop into the next stage of life and wishing your baby could stay little forever. It’s your job in life to teach independence so she can go out on her own someday, while admittedly hoping “someday” never comes so you can hold her in your arms forever.
That’s the ache you feel as a parent.
You know it’s not realistic. But you wish for a pause button. To lengthen the time she’s fast asleep curled up on your chest. Or to replay each silly, cute, adorable, face she makes in the course of a day. You look down and cherish how every one of her fingers can wrap around one of yours.
But then our physical aches and desire to be more scheduled get in the way. We can’t wait for her to be able to sit up on her own, so we can multitask a little easier and give our sore arm muscles a rest. We long for her to finally sleep through the night, our bodies tired and exhausted. Or you think about what her first word will be and get so antsy for that day to arrive.
We “can’t wait” until they do the next big thing.
Until you blink and realize you’ve already passed by so much.
She reaches for her bottle on her own and soon she won’t need you to eat anymore, when for so many months before you were her life source.
She’s always slept beside you in a bassinet, until suddenly it’s time. She’s ready for her crib. She moves across the hall and your heart goes with her. And there it is again . . .
You ache because a piece of your soul lives outside of you in her little body now. It pumps in her chest as much as it does yours. You’ve never felt more alive or more fragile.
Every moment is fleeting. And it’s as if, in those moments, you are both overflowing with joy, and yet almost sad—knowing this moment will soon be over and you can’t relive it again. You try to capture the feeling, try to remember every tiny detail. Breathing in her perfect baby smell. Noticing the way her chest rises and falls as she lies peaceful in her crib. Lingering over your goodnight snuggles for just a bit longer. You try to catch each moment and tuck it inside your heart.
Soon she’ll go off to kindergarten for the first time, the backpack falling off her shoulders as she skips inside.
And someday she’ll walk down the aisle to marry some boy—when she was just walking over to you for the first time.
You dream of her big, beautiful life. You want the world and all it has to offer for her—but you wish to protect her from the weight and dangers of the world as well. You want to keep her safe. To keep her innocent and pure. Please stay this little instead.
And then you think about how she won’t need you as much eventually, not like she does now for every aspect of her little life. And it’s your job to make sure she’s ready to be on her own one day. To teach her. To protect her. To guide her on her journey down a road that takes her away from home.
That’s the ache you feel.
But oh, the joy she brings. The kind of indescribable, inexplicable, all-consuming happiness that roots deep within your soul. Her laughter and smile make our hearts burst open with gladness.
She has taught me to love in ways I didn’t know before. To appreciate my parents on a deeper level. She’s made me grow up and reevaluate what the most important things are in life. I now look at my husband with a higher level of awe and adoration for the way he raises our little girl. She’s strengthened our extended and immediate family and made us all closer.
The gift she’s given to us is to savor our time. To notice it more. To enjoy every day along with the sleepless nights. For soon this season will pass and we will yearn for it to return.
Ultimately, she’s brought us a new kind of love. Where we love so fiercely that our hearts grow and stretch and mold and bend and yes, even ache—but in the best, most perfect way imaginable.