And then, on Tuesday, my immediate interests changed a bit. I went from gratefully accepting my mother-in-law’s nesting help to being the mother bird. I went from that uncomfortable come-any-day-now feeling to bags under my eyes and joy in my arms. I went from pondering apples on trees to kissing apple cheeks.
In the midst of this week with the new baby, I’m getting a refresher on all those things that are so quickly forgotten: the frequency of things – feedings, diapers, sleep, repeat; the piercing bright-eyed looks; the tiny weight; the sound of my husband’s voice talking to a new daughter; the sweet smell of Dreft and clean baby and lotion; the feel of small fingers. Even though I knew about all these things, at some level, I still forgot – and it’s only been just over two years since I last walked in these shoes. I’m rediscovering all the things I never knew I should love about babies (having never been a baby person prior to the birth of my first daughter).
Though we’re getting out of the early babymoon phase and entering the twilight zone of sleepless nights and new routines, I can’t help but engrave a friend’s comment on my mind – “These are the longest days and shortest years of your life.” The reminder of the many blessings of my life is now in my arms. She’s here, with us. Apples just don’t matter, now that I have the sweet smell of Dreft and the baby that goes with it. I might feel a little beside-myself-with-exhaustion at times, and I might not get to all the things I’d like to get done. My time is not my own, in large part, and it’s so tempting to dwell on the limitations.
But in the midst of the long days are the short years. Already, the first baby is nearly three and a big sister. She’s jumped right out of the snuggle-and-sleep-in-my-arms phase into the do-it-by-MYSELF capabilities that will lead her right into the teen years and, too soon, adulthood. While I kiss the new baby, the feeling that this is all fleeting, temporary, gift is overwhelming. Just yesterday, it seems, my nieces were toddlers. Now they’re taking the Red Cross courses so they can babysit for me.
Yes, the days are long right now. But oh, the years are short!