Today, I was scrolling through my photos and I stopped here…
I thought to myself, remember this?
The answer, if I’m being completely honest, is not really. As I watch Brayden run around making tractor sounds and playing with his new toy truck, it’s hard to fathom that baby is this baby. I watched it happen with my own two eyes, and yet I still can’t believe it. I know that parents have these thoughts when their children start kindergarten, graduate high school, or get married. But to be in such disbelief about my baby growing up when he’s only 16-months old is a bit surprising. I can see why it would be hard to remember your child as a newborn when he’s standing on a podium receiving a diploma 18-years later. But how could I have forgotten so many little moments like these already? After less than a year-and-a-half, I should be able to look at that picture and feel warmth on my chest in the place he was snuggled. But I can’t. It is such a distant memory that I can barely believe it happened at all. Maybe I was really THAT tired. Or perhaps, from a parental perspective, the stages of early childhood are just too short for the monumental changes that take place. It seems that, just when I figure things out, Brayden undergoes some fundamental change. It is a continuous learning process where my own adaptation is just barely on pace with his growth and development. Routines evolve before they are even established so that the details quickly blend together. It’s a phenomenon that I will soon be experiencing all over again.
The very idea of having another little love in my life astounds me. I suppose I thought that reflecting on Brayden’s first months would make what lies ahead with Baby 2 more tangible. That seeing him as an infant would remind me of what I have to expect, to look forward to. That maybe it could prepare me in some way. I mean it was only just yesterday. Wasn’t it? Apparently not. In baby days, it was an eternity ago. Basically, just because I already have one baby doesn’t mean I’m not going to feel anxious about having another.
Needless to say, looking at pictures of Brayden’s newbornhood didn’t have the effect I was looking for. It didn’t leave me thinking “Oh, I remember that. No worries about number two. It’ll be like riding a bike”. It didn't prepare me for having a new baby, especially when I have another slightly older one running around, threatening chaos at every turn.
Though my picture perusal process didn’t necessarily inspire the comforting feelings of familiarity that I expected, it served one purpose other than to remind me of Brayden's adorableness: It offered a compelling reminder of how fast time goes. And maybe that’s the only preparation I need: The understanding that in two months, I will be holding a new baby. A baby that, 16-months later, I will hardly believe existed. Whose older brother will seem another light-year away from than the tractor-bearing little man he is now. So while I am battling through exhaustion and the trials that come along with being a mother, I don’t have to feel guilty if I’m not “enjoying every little moment”. (Because, let’s face it, some mommy moments just aren’t enjoyable.) I can, however embrace the fact that those moments of frustration or self-doubt will dissipate. Very quickly. Together with the love and cuddles, they blend into nothing more than a strong sense that something wonderful happened. And I am so excited that it will be happening all over again.