Every parent has heard it before, the infamous “Cherish every moment.” It’s enough to drive someone mad. Do I need to cherish the all-nighters, the screaming wails, the attention-grabbing tantrums in the middle of the grocery store, and the teenage eye rolls? Is it necessary for me as a mother to embrace the late nights, the sore boobs, and the exhaustion? Do we really want to remember the most difficult moments of parenthood? The moments when we’re hanging on to our last bit of patience, right before we lose it. I can not even begin to tell you how many times I have broken down and cried as a new, overwhelmed mother. Should I have to cherish those moments as well. I hate to say it, but yes. In the moment of chaos, we just want it to pass. We want the phase to end and we want our kids to hurry and fall asleep. Once those moment are gone, however, we can never get them back.
Understanding the annoyance of the phrase and knowing that it is the last thing we need to hear when our child is screaming in our ear, I will never say it to another parent. When we are about to lose it, we desperately want the moment to end. I have been there, so I get it. But to be honest, I really am trying to cherish every moment. Yes, even the messy ones because it’s all a part of a much bigger picture. The wonderful moments come together with the chaotic ones and it all fits so perfectly and then in a second, it’s gone.
As much as I hate this phrase as the next parent, this phrase has helped me keep my sanity. I cling to it desperately when my little one is fighting sleep at three in the morning and I am trying to stay awake. It swings like a pendulum in front of me, reminding me that even in these tough moments, the clock keeps ticking. As time continues, her endless wails will turn into sassy arguments and door slams, and then eventually a packed-up car as she heads out into her own life. Before I know it, my baby won’t be a baby anymore. She will be grown, and I will be reminiscing about these moments. Trying to remember the sound of her sweet giggles and the image of her little toes. Her shrieks of pleasure, and even her cries, will only be echoes in my memory.
So, I am cherishing every moment because I know all too well how fast a moment can fly by. My little one is sitting up on her own, she’s holding her own bottle, and she plays peacefully on her own for longer periods of time now. I watch helplessly as she discovers her independence and I ache for the moments when she was swaddled in her wrap against my chest. I long for her curious newborn eyes as they stared at me for the very first time and the way her tiny little body felt so fragile and light in my arms. I find myself scrolling through videos and pictures and I can feel tears swell up as I look at my growing baby.
I’ll hold her a little longer after she falls asleep in my arms and sooth her each time she fusses. On the days when I feel like I can not handle another moment, I’ll remember that time doesn’t stop; not even on the most difficult days. I will never have these moments again; on the days when I want to hear it the least, I’ll “cherish every moment”.