By Pam Stone, co-leader of API of Merrimack Valley, New Hampshire
**Originally published in the Spring 2007 annual New Baby issue of The Journal of API
Welcome to Motherhood!
Many times people will tell you to enjoy these times, because they go by so fast. It may be hard to imagine, as you struggle to function through exhaustion and frustration, that you will look back at this time as warm and beautiful. But you will.
When your daughter wakes you for the fifth time tonight to nurse, gaze into her eyes and remember that sleepy, milky grin. When your arms ache from carrying her for hours, but she wakes at the slightest hint that you may sit down, marvel at her precious innocence and her relaxed body, so tiny that she snuggles comfortably in the nook of your arm.
Soon, your spine may object to hours crouched over so she can hold your finger while she toddles about. But take time to rejoice in each one of those wobbly, unbalanced steps. In what will surely seem like the blink of an eye, you’ll be watching her ballet recital, or her graduation, or her wedding.
Before you know it, these moments fade into the distance. And all those memories that you didn’t write down because you were absolutely sure that you would remember them…they fade, too. You may look back and wish you had nursed a little longer, played a little more often, or said yes a few more times. But you won’t look back and wish you’d slept in longer stretches, kept a cleaner house, or made a few more phone calls. Honest, you won’t.
Parenting is not a destination it is a journey. Savor every moment in time, letting it linger before slipping away forever in its own due time. And give your baby an extra kiss tonight, for tomorrow she may be a mother herself.