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I Didn’t Know - Lesson One – There isn’t Enough Time

In a little over a week Ethan will be turning 1 year old. This seems unimaginable to me. Of course time flies…it goes fast…and all those clichés you hear time and again are true. And while I ‘knew’ this was true, I didn’t ‘know’ how it would make me feel. I’m not sure if it’s this upcoming milestone or my increasingly mushy mommy-heart, but I’ve been finding myself realizing lately just how much I ‘knew’ but didn’t ‘know’ about being a mommy.
First off – there isn’t enough time.
When Ethan was first born I took a break from all my normal activities, and did all I could to soak up my time with Ethan. Maternity leave was amazing! I spent countless hours snuggled up as Ethan napped. He went from my arms to Matt’s arms all day long as we went about our business. We had no timelines, no agendas, no commitments but each other and it was one of the best times in my life. As maternity leave was winding down, I tried to prepare myself for re-entry into ‘normal’ life. Work, gym, home, etc. I tried to plan out my days like they were before…but quickly realized…it wasn’t enough time with Ethan. As the weeks went by I found myself holding sweet Ethan in his quiet, cozy room before work…sobbing that I would have to quickly rush around and out the door to get to the gym in time for class. I would agonize at the end of the day if the clock ticked past 4:00 and I was stuck in a meeting or a discussion and it delayed my return to Ethan.
I had NO idea how hard this would hit me. I ‘knew’, but didn’t ‘know. Rearranging my schedule has been hard. All my priorities shifted and I struggled to justify my new normal to my internal judgy self. I had set such high standards for myself over the years that I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t live up to them anymore. Things which I prioritized high in the past were slipping further and further down the chain and I couldn’t figure out quite how to accept it. My floors gathered hair like never before. Dirty dishes were left in the sink overnight. Weeds grew taller than me in parts of my flower garden. Pop cans multiplied like rabbits in the garage. My running shoes sat unworn. What was wrong with me!? Why couldn’t I keep up? Why couldn’t I do it all? In the past I would have rolled my eyes at you if you couldn’t break away from your child for one night for a party…but now? I get it. Now…I know – there isn’t enough time.
I have such a small window of time each day with Ethan and nothing is more important to me that soaking that up.  I love taking our time getting ready in the mornings together. We eat breakfast the three of us. Ethan keeps me company while I get ready, talking, laughing, and singing together in the bathroom. By the time we load up for daycare he is excited to go see his friends and I feel like we had some quality time together. It is one of my favorite times of day. From sleepy, snuggly, good-morning smiles, to happy, squealing babbles on the way to daycare…it’s all so good. In the evening we eat dinner together again – the three of us. And then we play, read books, and chase Ethan around the house until he lays his head down exhausted. We get ready for bed together – the three of us. And every night one of us rocks Ethan for a bit. Sometimes he drifts off, sometimes he just hangs out, content in the arms of his mommy or daddy. It is also one of my favorite times of day. And it’s so short. I force myself to get up and put Ethan to bed most nights. I could hold him so much longer. I could look at his sweet, angelic face with his rosy cheeks and long lashes all night. I marvel at the gift he is. I wonder about who he’ll be as he grows. And I wish I had more time.
So this year we’ve been out without Ethan exactly 3 times. I know we’ve disappointed would-be babysitters with our home body tendencies.  And pre-mommy Emily would scoff at this. She would never…could never…really, truly know. There is simply nothing more important than time with our sweet son and there is undeniably just not enough time.

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