I questioned everything I did with Kate when she was an infant. Was I holding her too much? Maybe. If so, then maybe she wouldn’t ever learn how to self-soothe, fall asleep on her own. She wouldn’t ever take a bottle. Maybe she’d never learn to drink from a cup. Was I stimulating her enough? I did spend a great number of hours cuddling her on the couch watching endless hours of shows on TLC featuring families with dozens of children and employees at beauty parlors duke it out over…I’m not sure what and women purchase wedding dresses they couldn’t afford.
One infant day felt like an eternity. So much time to question and wonder as I performed the tasks of feeding and holding and soothing and rocking.
It felt like wasted time, doing nothing but sitting and holding her hour after hour, day after day. And it also felt like what I needed and wanted to do.
Everything felt like it really mattered.
Recently several of my friends who I’ve known forever and several of my online friends who I know via square pictures on Instagram have had new babies. It’s so weird to think back and remember that my leggy second grader was once one of those new babies. She felt so vulnerable. Breakable. Mess-upable.
Now I don’t always know what or if she’s eaten because she feeds herself. I don’t pick out her clothes or supervise her showers. I guess she’s getting clean and brushing her teeth. She can, in fact, drink from a cup. And she goes to sleep on her own every night.
I didn’t bat an eye when she went to kindergarten. I didn’t cry when I dropped her off at first grade. But something about second grade feels different. It feels like what people are always saying about time.
Now I feel liberated and sad. I feel excited and anxious. I feel full and empty. I feel like this is how it’s meant to be.