Within the last twenty four hours I’ve had two very different experiences:
The first a wriggling, uncomfortable baby, who needed rocking for two hours in the middle of the night. Personality failure (mine) was close. It was I decided at one a.m. no accident that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture.
The second, this morning. My eldest told me she didn’t need to be put to bed anymore, she could go up by herself.
The contrast was huge.
As I stood in the dark last night I wondered whether it really was possible to savour all of the moments of parenting. Thirteen months in, with an average of ten wake ups a night, that seemed like a tall ask. Actually if I’m honest it seemed nigh on impossible.
Until that is this morning.
Because, the truth is one day he won’t need rocking to sleep any more. The truth is that one day he too will look at me and tell me, he is now old enough to put himself to bed.
And then. Then I will wish that I had cherished those nighttime cuddles. I will wish his body once again fit in the crook of my arms. That I could smell his sweet baby smell just one more time.
Having almost nine years between the children has brought me so many insights. As one grows, imperceptibly more independent by the day, I am reminded often how quickly time goes.
It seems like only moments ago, that Number One was pleading to be allowed to sleep in our bed, riding on the Other Half’s shoulders, and hugging us at every opportunity.
Now we aren’t allowed to walk her to the school gate, she closes her door when getting dressed and it seems even at bedtime we are surplus to requirements.
Stark reminders that nothing lasts forever.
Of course, if we knew the time was nearing the end we would cherish those moments more closely, remember them, imprint them on our hearts.
But the truth is we don’t.
Our children change before our eyes, and yet so often we miss the little things, only noticing them when they’re gone.
So tonight, whilst I’m rocking and swaying in the middle of the night, I’ll make sure I hold him extra tight, smell his baby smell and remember that nothing lasts forever….
… and yes if it goes on for two hours I’ll probably still feel like having personality failure.