Of course, I take my trip down memory lane and a cute photo of my son makes me smile. He is an adorable kid, if I do say so myself. But the video that popped up the other day was the first time one of these memories made me cry.
In this video, I caught my son's first full walk across the floor on video. He had just turned 11 months old at the time and had taken a few steps here and there, but this was his first time going across the room. We were in Raleigh, North Carolina for a massage convention (I always try to take my husband and son with me to conventions so we can turn my work trip into a family trip as well) and we were just hanging out in our hotel room and he decided he wanted to start walking. He kept right on walking for the rest of the trip and never looked back.
In the video, you can hear my son "talking" as he strolls across the floor and me cheering him on, with a "YES!" at the end of his walk. Hearing this again, 3 years later, brought up so many emotions for me. You see, I've always thought I wasn't a "baby person" because when I see my friends post pictures of their children when they were young and they say they get misty looking at them or even say they have baby fever, I never could connect with what they were saying. Most people I know yearn for the baby stage because it was so easy for them. Babies just sleep and coo and smile. At least that's what everyone tells me.
The truth for me is that the baby stage was the absolute hardest part for me in these 4 years of being a parent. I sort of always felt there was something wrong with me or my son because he wasn't the kind of baby who would sleep for long stretches (without movement or me wearing him) or be happy to go with anyone who wanted to hold him. I remember going on mommy meet-ups at restaurants and looking at other babies in disbelief because they could just stay in their mothers' arms or in their strollers and the moms could eat and be a part of the conversation. I would usually be standing behind my chair moving with my son because if I tried to sit, he would start to get really fussy. We used to go to a movie theater that had a baby-friendly showtime, where you could bring your baby and watch a grown-up movie. Every other baby there would sleep through the whole movie and their parents could sit and watch the show. We, on the other hand, were pacing the ramp with our Moby wrap for most of the movie.
It was hard.
Looking back at it now, I know it was hard, but I think what the real issue was that I fell into the comparison trap. I felt there was a mold that my son wasn't fitting into. I thought I was doing something wrong. As my son grows, I can really appreciate his uniqueness. When you're in the middle of it, though, it's hard to see that. It's difficult, sometimes, to follow your instincts and care for your baby in the way only you know how. It's really challenging to enjoy the moment when that moment is keeping you awake in the middle of night or forcing you to frustratingly adjust your expectations.
As my son grows, I am enjoying being his mom more and more. Each stage is more fun for us since he is so kind, smart, funny and just an all around cool kid. Watching this video, though, reminded me of just how much time really does fly and changes your perspective a bit. I finally had that wistful feeling that I thought I was lacking.
We just celebrated his 4th birthday this past weekend. As he blew out his birthday candles, I thought about this video and it made me smile. We've had a lot of bumps along this road, but I know that with each one of his milestones (that he'll reach in his own time, or course), I will be there shouting "YES!" to cheer him on.