Friday, July 14, 2017

Little Things

"Soak this stage up. They'll be grown before you know it." Such a well-meaning piece of advice, typically given in the moments when people assume (probably correctly so) that you are so over tiny-person caregiving. Grocery store tantrums, anyone?

My first instinct is to be a little bit annoyed [I know they will grow quickly, I know, but does that mean I have to soak up every detail of this public meltdown?], but outside of those moments, I really do think on this. They'll be grown before I know it. I can tell it's true by the way my parents talk about me. I was their tiny person. And now they are already watching me raise mine. 

Before Westin was born I printed a sign for his nursery that says, "Enjoy the little things." I knew I wanted to focus on that while raising him, but I had no idea how prominent that framed quote would be in my life. The rocking chair across the room from those words held countless hours of story reading, nursing, rocking to sleep. And I'd read the phrase repeatedly and think, "These are the little things. They are now."

Stories, hugs, night feedings -- I know I'll think back on those. But there are also the little things that are only mine to know. Like the way Westin is frustrated if you fill up his water bottle before he is finished drinking all of it. The way he will always say "You got it!" on your very first guess when you play I Spy with him. Or how he wants you to keep his shirt on around his head each night when he's changing into pajamas, so he can pretend he's a puppy with sleeves for ears. These are his little things. And once I forget them, they're gone. They're already changing so quickly, and sometimes gradually enough that they're lost without notice. 

I have moments when I become overly melancholy thinking about these little boys, and how they are my whole life right now but the end goal is for them to not need me anymore and find their own whole life. Those times are when I really am surprised at the power of those four framed words on Westin's wall. 

Enjoy the little things. Even if the little things are insignificant to the world, or eventually forgotten by me too -- it doesn't take away from how lucky and lovely all of this is right now.

This post is part of my 8-minute memoir series, following the prompts from author Ann Dee Ellis. You can read more about the project here. This series is an effort to keep writing in my routine, keep a record of life, and keep my spirits high. 

"I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say." - Flannery O'Connor.

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