Motherhood is oriented to firsts.

Our baby’s first smile,

first step,

first word.

 

After the baby is born,

some firsts seem to take forever.

Like the first time mom can have an uninterrupted conversation

or read a book and remember the contents.

 

The only hint that it’s

not all about firsts

comes from older women.

enjoy them while they're young,

They fuss over our darling babies with delight.

When they do,

our traitorous babies make liars of us:

cooing back as if they don’t have colic and diaper rash

and the incessant ability to dominate our lives.

 

These older women speak

in some kind of code

known only to those

whose babies

are long grown up.

(Maybe a secret society.)

 

The way they operate is so

consistent that clearly

it’s a ritual of some kind.

child

There’s always a pause

in their baby chortling.

 

They look us in the eye

to say some version

of the very same thing.

 

“They’re little for such a short time.” Or,

“These years go by so fast.” Or,

“Enjoy every moment.”

 

They want us to know something they didn’t know,

that no one really knows fully

until their babies are grown

 

Despite the exhaustion and sleepless nights

and the loss of one’s free time

to the cutest loud smelly creature ever,

 

the earliest years

are packed with heart-filling wonder.

 

When our babies grow up

we see

motherhood is also

filled with lasts.

 

The last time we’ll change

a diaper is worthy of a

celebration, true.

 

There’s also a last

time holding a little

hand to cross a street,

the last tucking into bed,

the last book read aloud,

the last

of many

blessedly ordinary

expressions of love

once enfolded

into daily

life with a child.

 

Such “lasts” line the

way toward our child’s

adulthood.

 

They remind us

to cherish

every moment.

 

As a mother who is now shorter

(okay, much shorter) than each of her four children,

I claim the right to coo over babies

and tell new mothers in all seriousness,

“these years go by so fast.”

 

I haven’t been invited into the secret society yet.

I hope there’s not a dress code.

I’m NOT wearing any damn red hat.

 

Image Credits

Creative Commons Image Credits

Baby hand  flickr.com/photos/andrewmalone/1114928353/

Baby smile  flickr.com/photos/donnieray/8526698140/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Woman and baby  picasaweb.google.com/…/9NX5sOZc8XwaveIURkiqGw

Eye flickr.com/photos/43927576@N00/531269809

Woman and baby flickr.com/photos/jm_photos/2057212651/sizes/z/in/photostream/

Woman and baby flickr.com/photos/iandeth/1949150981/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Angel girl  flickr.com/photos/tianderson/286211866/

Baby  flickr.com/photos/50824868@N00/197011571

Little girl flickr.com/photos/40379737@N00/3812002166/

Boys in street flickr.com/photos/mcsimon/1266570816/

Reading aloud flickr.com/photos/j_regan/8197734711/sizes/c/in/photostream/

Boy in tree http://www.flickr.com/photos/takile/5809992860/sizes/z/in/photostream/

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