Everyone tells you when you become a parent, that the days are long but the years are short.
All photography via the fabulous light by iris – more on her awesome work below.
You don’t really know what that means until you’re bathing three babies in a bedtime marathon after dinner. It comes after a day of no naps, and multiple refusals to eat their green beans, and probably all of this after a standoff in the toy aisle at Target.
Then one day, what feels like an eternity of trial and error in sleepless nights, morphs into waking teenagers after ten on a Saturday morning in a quiet house, because they love to sleep in.
Everyone tells you, babies don’t keep.
You don’t really know what that means, until you can’t remember the last time you rocked your child or held her in your arms for a while. Because one day, it just stopped. Our arms are lighter, but haunted with an emptiness that aches a little, while we move on.
Then your thirteen year old arrives home from school in tears and curls up into your lap. Babies don’t keep, but they still need you.
Everyone tells you that having a child is like having your heart outside of your body.
You think you know what that means on the first day of preschool. And on the first day of kindergarten.
Then one day he drives away on his own for the first time, and you find yourself crying, for absolutely no reason other than this is hard.
That little pang in your chest, gets a little bit sharper each time, with mixed emotions that maybe you’re actually doing something right.
Everyone loves tropes and phrases, nostalgia and whim.
Soak it up, they say. Relish in the years, while they’re young.
Is it over, when they’re not? We tend to romanticize the past while forgetting about the now. And we tend to count what’s left in years of children at home, worried so much about what’s ahead, without just appreciating what it is, where it is. When it is. We can’t control time.
The thing that makes it so hard, is we’re forever trying to embrace the every day, while also just trying to survive it.
Here’s the thing that no one tells you, and I’m not really sure why we all forget to leave this part out:
It just gets better.
Yes, the everlasting struggle of that existential crisis, feeling as though everything is slipping through our fingers, juxtaposed with arguing over chicken fingers for dinner… will always be there.
But these are the days.
That’s the thing no one tells you.
To those little sleepless children who could morph into tiny nightmares in the toy aisle…
To their tiny fingers wrapped tightly around crayons and Cheerios while they learned how to walk…
To the big eyes that sparkle with wonder as you speak love into them before they can grasp what you’re saying…
They grow into fascinating humans.
We put all this time and effort, love and attention into the thing that really matters.
We go through exhaustion and doubt, sleepless nights and endless worry, and then all that work peels back in years, like the tightly-wound delicate petals of a blooming flower.
Only to reveal the really good stuff.
Because these little people, become actual people.
If you let them, their own people.
They’re funny and intelligent, creative, and intentional. And we get the wonderful privilege of watching that while guiding them along the way.
It’s an insanely painful, beautiful process. But absolutely worth every single moment.
So, the thing that no one tells you, while we all wax nostalgia and cry a little when that baby bedding is put away… is that it just gets better.
These are the days. What matters. So embrace living in the now.
It’s the thing that no one tells you.
We had a wonderful little documentary session with Light by Iris in our own home on a rainy Saturday, a few weeks ago. She’s our favorite, so be sure to check out more of her beautiful work here, and our last session here.
Have an inspired day!