I got a text from my girlfriend the other day telling me a story.
She was walking in the woods with another friend and their baby girls. Two women walked by and said, wistfully, “That was us 20 years ago.“
Her friend replied, “Yes, but look at your freedom now!”
They both immediately said, “We’d trade it in a second to have that back.”
Then they both kept repeating, “Don’t wish it away.”
I wept reading the text.
My baby girl is only four and a half months old, yet I can’t imagine my life without her.
There have been moments over these last several months, especially between the hours of 1:00 – 5:00am, when I’ve counted down the months until she’s able to sleep through the night and articulate exactly what she needs to me.
But then I put her in a set of footie pajamas that tug at the neck because she’s outgrown them. And I switch this set of clothes out of the drawer, to be replaced by the new set marking a new chapter of this tiny person’s life.
And I get nostalgic. I can only imagine what I’ll feel like 20 years from now if I’m already feeling so bittersweet now, not even 6 months in to this whole motherhood thing.
And then I remember: Don’t wish it away.
I longed to finally meet my husband when I was running around NYC, single in my twenties. I envied my coupled friends for the stability in their love lives.
Then they’d ask me for all the juicy details of my love life and my dating adventures.
And then I’d remember: Don’t wish it away.
I ached to return home to Maine to start a family when Mike and I were traveling around the country on The Freedom Tour. I was homesick for the smell of the sea and the clean air.
Then we’d have a magical adventure like the time we were gifted a gorgeous bed and breakfast stay in Whitefish, MT, just because the owner liked us. And we spent the most incredible day hiking in Glacier National Park. And we saw a mama bear with her baby cubs frolicking in a giant field.
And then I remembered: Don’t wish it away.
The baby is crying outside my office door. I’ve yet to fit into any of my pre-pregnancy jeans. Our kitchen counter looks like a bomb went off. My hair is doing very weird things on account of hormones and lack of attention. I’ve eaten all my meals today standing up. I can’t seem to get even one task completed.
I feel all kinds of ungrounded, frazzled, and generally a mess.
Yet from past experience, I know that I’ll miss this. Everyone and their mother is telling me, “It goes so fast.” And while some find it annoying, I mostly take it to heart.
So tonight I shall cuddle my girl, stare into her beautiful bright eyes, put my pajamas on at 5pm like I almost always do these days, and not wish it away.
I’ve found that nearly every chapter of my life looks better in retrospect than I realized it was in the moment. I’m quite certain that this chapter is no exception.
My prayer for you and for me is that we realize how good it is while we’re living it, not just when we’re looking back.
Wherever you are, no matter where you’d rather be instead, don’t wish it away.
There will be a time in your life when you’ll miss this time.
So don’t wish it away.
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