Bee will be turning one later this summer – a milestone that marks endings and beginnings and seasons anew – and I’ve been feeling increasingly reflective. Our days are slow but climbing quickly – a roller-coaster car approaching the first hill, ready to crest into oblivion as we hold on for dear life. And I can’t help but shake this sense that, on the other side of the hill, time speeds faster. Moments will blur into days and days into years as we attempt to clear our head and gain our footing and enjoy the ride before it’s over. So today, I choose to pause. To reflect on the many lessons I’ve learned in my short ride as a passenger in the motherhood roller-coaster car:
1. Play with the cards we’re dealt.
I’m a different mother than I’d expected. Bee is a different baby than I’d expected. Somewhere between pregnancy hormones and babysitting memories, I’d painted a perfect portrait of a mother and daughter, snuggling together in a rocker singing lullabies as they gaze lovingly into each others eyes, pinkies interlocked. And although motherhood is just as beautiful, it’s far different. It’s messier and noisier with less gazing and more chasing. Bee is, and has always been, a very active, wriggly, independent baby. And at times, I look longingly at other mothers who have babies that latch onto them for dear life, perfectly content to be held and snuggled and carried from infant to toddlerhood. Yet Bee is not that baby, and we’re having a lovely time together anyway. Because life is less about ideal circumstances and more about adjusting our expectations, smudging that perfect portrait to reveal a more realistic image.
2. Release the control.
There’s no greater lesson in control than being gifted another human being to care for; a human being rife with emotion and discomfort and struggle. And although I have experienced many attempts at controlling Bee’s surroundings, I’m slowly learning that my efforts are in vain. Bee has her own mind, her own soul and her own heart – as does everyone else in this world. The best we can hope for is that we all accept one another and trust the process, learning as our paths cross and our roads bend. Because although we can’t choose our journey, we can certainly choose our perspective.
Bee and I have been through many harried moments together, moments of burnt toast and stubbed toes and bruised knees. And during those less-than-magical times, a smile is a welcome distraction – a reminder that these moments will fade, but the laugh lines will remain.