New parents typically operate in a sleep deprived mental fugue, unable to string together a coherent sentence much less appreciate the well-meaning platitudes of those who have gone before them; “Enjoy this time, it will be gone in the blink of an eye” is generally a sentence that carries little weight to someone who hasn’t had a full night's sleep in weeks, is wearing the same sweatpants and spit-stained t-shirt that they have had on for the last two days and who couldn’t even begin to tell you when the last time was that he/she showered, ate a full meal, or discussed anything not involving feeding schedules or when the last time was that precious made a poop.
As a not-so-new parent, I can tell you; those well-meaning platitudes are not only true but, heartbreakingly so.
Although I vividly recall the cloud of fog that surrounded my brain during the first weeks of The Teenager’s life, the exhaustion, the confusion, the doubt and, let’s be honest, the fear involved in the daily care and feeding of a seven-pound time bomb; I also remember the smell of her head when she nestled underneath my chin as we lounged together on the couch.
I remember her tiny fingernails, her delicate toes, the way her mouth pursed into a perfect pink bow as she dreamed and the delight that we took as she reached each and every milestone.
We are still delighted by the milestones but, indeed, they come and go in the blink of an eye and, before you know it, the pre-schooler who was just terrorizing the sidewalks in her new Barbie Jeep like, yesterday, is gearing up to take the test for her driver’s permit and we have become those well-meaning people, speaking in platitudes while shaking our heads in a combination of awe and disbelief…"Enjoy this time, they grow up so fast….”
Happy birthday, Teenager. We love you and are so very proud of you and, when you need us; we’ll be right here, in your rear-view mirror. No matter how fast you go.