Bittersweet Heart Break
Do you ever look at your children (especially when they’re so sweet and peaceful as they sleep) and feel like your heart is breaking just a teeny tiny bit? It’s a bittersweet kind of heartbreak, where you are happy your child is growing up happy and healthy, but you’re a little sad that time is flying so quickly. As I write this, my son is sound asleep on my lap. And as I was looking at his soft skin and sweet baby rolls and chubby little cheeks and legs, my heart broke a little bit by bit just thinking about his future hurts. And I know that I can’t protect my children from everything, but oh how I wish that I could. From hurt feelings to skinned knees, it sometimes just makes me so sad to think about the highs and lows of growing up.
As parents, we want our children to be healthy and happy; and for people to be kind to them. There will be a time when my hugs, kisses on ouchies, songs and silly faces will not make my children feel better. I cannot even fathom how that will feel. There are times that I catch myself thinking “It must be so nice for parents of older children, because they probably sleep through the night. Or aren’t having tantrums. Or aren’t teething”. But then I’ll remember that the grass is always greener on the other side. Because I’m sure parents of older children might look at my baby and toddler and think “I miss those times. That sweet baby stage where all you have to do is smile and talk in a sweet high pitched voice and your baby will reward you with the biggest gummiest grin. Or how you can tell a toddler a made up story about a dragon and they’ll ask for more because they are truly fascinated by make believe”.
The same goes for being grateful for what we DO have right now. I look at my baby and toddler and am so grateful we aren’t dealing with homework yet. Or heartbreaks. Or a fight with a friend. I am SO happy that my toddler will randomly sprint over to me and wrap her arms around my legs to give me a hug just because she felt like it. I am so grateful that my baby will still sleep peacefully in my arms, with one chubby little hand clutching my shirt after he’s breastfed to sleep. Just like I’m sure parents of older children are grateful their children are in more of an independent stage, allowing mom and dad some more “me time”. What I have found, is that time flies extremely quickly once you have children; and no matter what age they are, there are always good and hard times.
I simultaneously don’t want time to fly as quickly as it does AND I cannot wait to watch as my children’s personalities emerge. I look at my toddler and she is a perfect example. When she was around 9-10 months, a huge ball of dread started to form in my stomach because I was so sad that she was turning one and wasn’t going to be “a baby” anymore. She turned one, and as she started talking more I became enamored with her sweet funny personality that emerged as she learned to talk. So yes, sometimes I’ll stare at her baby pictures and nostalgically miss those special sweet baby days, but then she’ll say something funny or super sweet to me, and I’m just so happy that we are in this stage too.
I just want to soak up all of these moments. I want to remember what it’s like to rock back and forth until my baby falls asleep in my arms. I want to remember loud toddler kisses on my cheek. I want to remember middle of the night breastfeeding, where it’s just me and my baby together while everyone else sleeps. I want to remember being able to soothe my toddler simply by scooping her up in my arms and spinning her around until she squeals with laughter. I want to remember this moment of a completely peaceful, trusting and loving little baby laying across my lap, with his soft baby hair on his head, and his tiny hands curled around my shirt and the other a little fist. I want to remember how he sometimes huffs in air and then roots with his eyes still closed. Lastly, I want to remember that sweet baby smell of milk and baby shampoo and baby detergent and just that unique baby scent. I just had no idea how motherhood would take my heart and expand it beyond what I thought was even possible. Live in the now. And go give your children a humongous hug, no matter what their age is.