I know I’m going to miss this. I know I am.
I can see myself ten years ahead, in the land of soccer games, hormones, and big decisions. I can see myself longing for the days when holding them in my arms solved all of their problems. I can see myself remembering when I could just stare at her delicate lips, her whole entire hand wrapped around my one right thumb, her feet tucked into my side. I can see myself looking back on this as a time that, while high maintenance, was also simple, pure, and good.
I know I’m going to miss this.
And that is why they say Enjoy this.
Because they are there, in the land of one, two, or three steps ahead, smitten with their life experience and perspective, and they miss this.
But right now, I am exhausted. Right now, it’s just a lot. Right now, when it seems like I have been screamed at by a difficult newborn for two straight months, it’s difficult to enjoy every second.
Right now, I fall asleep knowing that someone is going to need me in mere hours. Right now the cup of coffee sits cold on the counter in the morning as I move from one to another to another to another. Right now the circle of feeding of cleaning of driving of consoling of loving of kissing of reassuring of training goes around and around and around the clock.
Right before Lane and I began trying to have our first baby, we went on a backpacking trip in Utah. A last hurrah of sorts, knowing that our world would never be the same. A cashing in on a dream vacation that we had talked about doing together since dating in college. An experience, together, just the two of us, while it remained just the two of us.
We carried everything on our backs that we would need to survive our five nights and six days in Escalante Canyon. As we hiked for hours and hours each day, I noticed that I had a tendency to just watch my feet. The rhythmic monotony of watching my legs move step after step after step became a comforting distraction to the pain in my feet and my back and my body. I was so proud of myself that I only cried once that week- and that was when my socks got wet in the river and my feet were freezing.
But every now and then, I would look up.
And see this.
I was so focused on the seemingly never-ending step after step after step that I only sometimes noticed the beautiful that surrounded me.
And then we would hit a river and I had to pay attention to my feet again as we crossed, or we would have to climb some rocks, or we started to navigate over slippery rocks as water cascaded over our route.
But every now and then, I would look up.
Life can kind of be divided into times when you need to look down and times when you are able to look up. Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming navigating the hard and the heavy and the annoying and the dailyness of life. And sometimes I can steal glances up all day long.
And here’s the thing, I’m not going to enjoy every moment. I’m just not. Not when my baby is in a stage of either scream or sleep or scream herself to sleep. Not when I have to say things like “Stop licking the window!” or “Please put the hammer down.” or “That was our paycheck this month? Not just like… the week… but that was for… the month?”
And sometimes, I just need to look down at my feet. I need to pay attention to the details of the days and the details of my people. Sometimes I need to rock the circle of feeding of cleaning of wiping of loving of reminding of training of grocery shopping of errand running of bath time giving.
But every now and then, I look up.
And I hear, really hear, Brennan as she narrates our entire day and how she mispronounces some of her words like “I’m going to do it myselth!” and makes sure that I am watching, really watching, as she leaps from tree stump to tree stump in her effort to be a superhero.
I breathe Mae in deep, smelling her baby smell. I trace the outline of her perfect lips with my finger. I let her rest in my arms a few minutes extra after she falls asleep, feeling the weight of her tiny eleven pound body in my arms.
I see mischievous Ellie, clever and silly, running laps around the kitchen island with a bright pink cowboy hat on her head, reciting song lyrics as her feet hit the floor.
I fall asleep next to Lane, able to kick my feet out and find his form right next to me, finding myself just as grateful to be his as the very first night we went out on a date.
These moments when I am able to look up gets me through the rhythmic monotony of step after step after step of some days. Sometimes they are easier to see than others. Some days all I can steal is a quick glance and the moment is over.
But every single day, I look up.
And that is good enough for me.