Lately, due to some of the (great) things happening in our lives, I have been spending unusually large amounts of my time and energy plotting for the future. When I say unusually large, I am comparing it to the already excessive amount of energy I spent mapping scenarios in my head. I am, by nature, a planner. I am also an all-star ruminator. In the midst of trying to make sure everything ahead of us is perfect, and analyzing everything that could have gone better behind us, I forget to enjoy what’s right here. Parenting, like the rest of life, provides me with a lot of really amazing reminders to cherish what I have right this minute.
Good friends of ours had their first child this week– a joyful and long-awaited arrival who, I have no doubt, will be deeply loved and wonderfully parented. Unfortunately, due to some complications they were not able to have the birth experience for which they had planned, and their beautiful, tiny son is still recovering in the NICU. And, although I know this will all turn out fine, I remember how ridiculously stressful my own daughter’s issues with jaundice were when she was born, and understand that our situation was much milder in comparison.
Which brings me back to my mantra that everything in parenting is temporary. My friends will bring their gorgeous son home, and love him that much more for their reminder of how precious his life is. And soon enough, the stress of this week will become a memory blurred in the haze of more pressing, immediate concerns– like feeding, sleeping, and gas— which are also so very, very temporary.
This week other family friends are going through an even bigger challenge. Their beautiful, precocious, young daughter has been diagnosed with cancer. I look at my daughter and cannot even imagine their devastation. I don’t want to. I can’t. Besides the fact that people I know who are plainly awesome are suffering, it’s a glaring reminder of how– no matter how much I attempt to control with my organic foods, paraban-free lotions, and BPA-free sippy cups– there are absolutely no guarantees. And I know they are facing the fight of their lives in their efforts to remain positive and functional in the coming days of treatment. And for this, I send fervent prayers up to the Universe that, like everything else about parenting, this situation is very, very temporary and they are able to move past it and on with their regularly scheduled lives.
A mommy friend recently sent a hopeful email out to some other mamas requesting advice on napping, and I had to really think back to several months ago to remember that my daughter, Naya, did have the exact same issue. This, however important it was at the time (and yes, it was very, very important at the time), has been replaced by the more pressing issues of today– namely, two sets of teeth coming in even in the wake of yet another terrible cold.
Yesterday, my 18-month-old daughter looked up at me and said, “I want cookies.” My husband and I looked at each other in amazement– realizing, for the millionth time, that our baby is growing much faster than we care to admit.
And through all this, the thing I am constantly retaught is that I must struggle to stay in the moment and appreciate my life for exactly what it is, because it’s always, always changing and it’s all so very temporary.