One of my absolute favorite bloggers, Kelle Hampton of Enjoying the Small Things had this line in a recent post: “It is so easy to get lost both in then–reminiscing the days past, and someday--planning and preparing for all the events of the future. But the now between those two places is pretty sweet.”
This struck a chord with me the instant I read it. It made me realize that I’ve been doing far too much getting lost in then and someday. As I approach my daughter’s first birthday I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing about her first weeks, thinking about how tiny and delicate she was, which I typically follow with wondering about the future – what will she look like, what will her voice sound like, what will her sense of humor be like.
Then, yesterday morning I got her up in the to get ready for daycare. I sat her in her high chair for breakfast, and suddenly I looked at her realized that she doesn’t look like a baby anymore, she is a little girl toddler now. I was stunned, I kept asking myself “when did this happen?” and “how did I miss it?” I can’t help but feel like I have been too focused on remembering her newborn days, and imagining her kindergarten days, that I missed this transition.
This has been an insane year for me and my family. Not only did I have a baby, but I moved completely across the country. This massive transition unfortunately, I now realize, really inhibited me from feeling and being fully present in the now, and I have no one to blame but myself. That’s not to say that I’ve never managed to be fully present in the moment during this past year, but I know that there are moments when I wasn’t and I could/should have been. So that said, I am not going to let myself dwell on it any longer, because that would again be focusing on the then. Instead I am going to commit even more to being present in the here and now.
The Now. My little girl is growing up beautifully, although I might be a little biased about this. She is happy and healthy, and rather funny. She is quite the babbler, but is clearly saying words. We say “hi” to her and she says “hi” back to us. She waves, and she gives wonderful open mouth sloppy kisses, although we are going to have to start working on the difference between a kiss a bite I’m realizing. She is a boundary tester. I’m already perfecting my Mom Stare, you know the one – and so does she already. She’s also a problem solver. There is no “can’t” in her universe. Just when you think you’ve Ramona proofed all hazards, she finds a new one.
We had planned to go to a pumpkin patch to pick out her first pumpkin for her first Halloween, but unfortunately she got really sick and the outing had to be cancelled. This first will be saved for next year, but that didn’t stop us from grabbing a pumpkin at the grocery store, because I’ll be damned if my little girl doesn’t at least get a Jack-O-Lantern her first Halloween, even it she didn’t get to pick it herself.
It is remarkable how fast these little people grow and change. Blink and you miss it. And it’s so bittersweet with an only child. Anytime I feel like I’ve missed a moment, I beat myself up about it because I won’t ever have a chance to get it back, not with her or any other child. If I’m not careful this can turn into a vicious cycle because I’ll miss even more moments if I dwell too long, and then I’ll beat myself up even more, and so on. I’m learning to recognize when I haven’t been present, acknowledge it, and then recommit myself instead of berating myself. The past can’t be changed, the future isn’t yet written, but the now is where I am and where I want to be.