I’ve been there for every moment. Every smile, every laugh, every wobbly step—every everything—and yet it feels like I am still missing out on so much. How is it not enough?
I look back at baby pictures taken years ago, and I see that squishy face. I can see hints of who you will become hidden around your smile wrinkles, arm folds, and fuzzy hair.
You and I were different back then. Through the long nights with multiple wake ups, the constant changing of sheets, and endless laundry, I was too mired in the hour-to-hour chaos to reflect on anything meaningful. Back then I couldn’t see the sweet, crazy kid you would become.
Back then your happy moments were constantly interrupted with fussy ones. Your smiles turned into cries, and I’d quickly have to intervene. It felt like we were on this emotional roller coaster together, but the ride was taking too long. I was tired, and the ride kept on going and going, and I wanted off.
Only now, I want back on, if only for a second.
I want to step back into that moment in time to give your squishy cheeks a smooch.
To give my tired self a rest and take you off her hands for a minute. To give that mama a break and you a snuggle now that I have more energy.
Except you are too busy for all of that. You are past the age of hours of cuddles. Years have passed, and you are sleeping through the night, putting on your own socks, and riding a bike to school. How did you get to be so big?
You are busy, busy, busy, and you won’t let me kiss you nearly as often as I’d like. Sometimes, when you’re sleeping, I sneak into your room Love you Forever style and kiss your forehead. I used to think that that mom was creepily obsessed with her child but I get it now.
In the depths of sleep, your face relaxes, and I get a brief glimpse of who you used to be—my sweet baby in a big kid’s body. It’s only for a moment, though, so I steal it every time I can.
I don’t want another baby, and I don’t want you to stop growing up but I’m not the first mother who wishes she could turn back time, and I won’t be the last.
I love your strong and independent personality. I love your laugh, your attitude, and your fast legs as they run across the grass.
I wouldn’t trade any part of who you are now for a moment of who you were back then.
I know that these moments will soon become like the others and I’ll be missing these too, wishing to go back and revisit them.
Even though I’ve seen every smile, every laugh, every wobbly step—every everything—it still doesn’t feel like enough.
Can it ever be enough?
For more essays about motherhood, read the Knocked Up Abroad series.