When being a parent is one of the greatest joys you’ll ever know, how can you be sad? Watch them grow up, that’s how. I know now why my parents begrudgingly at times allowed me to gain my independence. From the first sleepover at a friend’s house to getting my driver’s license, they were simply sad to watch it all slip away. At least that’s my theory. Who knows, maybe they were just happy to get my sassy self out of the house so they could have some peace and quiet!
The first year of Charlie’s life has been such an overwhelming time of joy and celebration over the tiniest of things. Yet, as I pack away the rear-facing baby seat, among other things, I feel a little choked up. Like I did when the last episode of Friends aired. Something I had become very attached to was now going away. At least I have the car seat in storage and I can go visit it at anytime, and Friends does rerun everyday. But somehow, it’s just not the same.
Perhaps I’m a little mental, ok, ok, maybe slightly more than “a little mental” but I still have friends so it mustn’t be that bad. I get the same sad panda feeling when Charlie grows out of clothes, or needs the next size up in nappies. (Aussie speak for diapers- I believed it’s derived from napkin, which is bizarre. Why would you put a napkin on a baby? Yes I know napkin is also used to refer to feminine hygiene products but still! Ah, the great quandaries of life.) How on earth did we go from nostalgic, sad panda mommy to feminine hygiene? Back that truck up sister!
In all seriousness, the time does fly by and if you aren’t soaking in every second of it, you’re wasting it. Forget high school, forget college, forget youthful days of reckless abandon. These are the best days of your life. At no other point will you have something so fleeting. It’s faster than child-propelled cell phone hurtling toward the pavement. It’s more heart stopping than the last five seconds of that eBay auction of the original (insert your material guilty pleasure here).
Perhaps it’s a combination of things. Perhaps it’s a reminder that you’re getting older, that your parents are getting older. That you’re closer to that milestone birthday and further from that dream home than you planned. Yet, when Charlie looks at me, none of that matters. She doesn’t care if my forehead has ever so quietly begun to whisper for Botox. Or that I can’t shop in certain stores anymore because I’m someone’s mother and those tiny outfits aren’t kneeling-in-the-park-rubber-mulch friendly. Or maybe it’s that I’m too shocked at the lyrics of mainstream music to play it in the car and now Classic Country on Pandora is my go to. That is, until little yells from the backseat start requesting The Wiggles.
Whatever it is, I’ll use it as a reminder that I can feel joy, I can be grateful each day when I wake up that wonderful this life is mine and I get to live it.