Wednesday, September 29, 2010

And You Thought I Was Cynical

On a recent trip to the grocery store during mommy prime time -- a.k.a Monday 11 a.m., also considered old people prime time -- I ran across a young woman who was dishing out parenting advice at the deli counter. 
Naturally I had Mackenzie buried in the shopping cart surrounded by mounds of produce and nonperishables.  
As I tried to weave my way through the dozen or so customers lollygagging around the case of Boar's Head ham, I was trapped by the grocery gabber
"How old?" she asked pointing to the car seat. 
"Almost 4 months," I replied, overestimating a bit since Mackenzie is a little plump for her age (90th percentile in weight, MUST SWITCH HER TO LIGHT BEER).
"Ohhh, you're still in the trenches," said my new friend. 

I sort of half nodded, half shrugged. 
I'm still here?
I thought my husband, Doug, and I had victoriously emerged from the trenches hand-in-hand after week six. 
We still had plenty of trying times with the baby but for the most part we had this parenting thing down pat, didn't we?

"Mine is 8 months," the girl proudly stated, implying that she was out of said trenches.
I had to hand it to her.  
It was clear from her glowing appearance and bubbly personality that she had things figured out.  Her clothes were clean, she was wearing makeup, and her long blond hair was perfectly blown out and shiny. 
Her shopping cart was filled with groceries, not a baby she was trying to soothe while waiting for her half pound of thin-sliced turkey.
I wondered if this would be me in 5 months or if I'd still come across like an escaped mental patient. 
I may have felt like I was out of the trenches but I looked like a casualty of war.

Fast forward a few days to my encounter with a friendly but chatty acquaintance whose three unruly toddlers have a penchant for playing barefoot in the middle of the street.
"This is the best time," he tells me, glancing at Mackenzie with a look of nostalgia.  "Once they can crawl and walk your life is REALLY over."

Well isn't that just great. 

So, according to these two experts, I have a small window of happiness between a couple of heaping piles of doom.  

I guess reality once again slaps me in the face. 

But despite the fact that these unsolicited advisers were ruining my week with their cynical observations, it got me thinking.  
There really is no easy time, is there? 

When they're infants it's the crying and struggling to get them to sleep. 
When they're toddlers you spend all of your time chasing after them and playing the "why" game. 
And if Mackenzie is anything like I was as a tween and teen, I'm dreading the day she starts going to parties, dating, and driving. 

Yet my parents and in-laws tell me to cherish every moment because each one is fleeting. Mackenzie's grandparents can stare at her for hours and go all day without ever taking a break and putting her down.   
They tell me it's because they know how fast the time goes... 
something us new parents take for granted.

1 comment:

  1. So I must comment. The grocery store incidents just never end. As you know, I have re-entered the world of choatic children and dodging the elderly during early morning trips. Luckily, when someone peers in my carriage and observes the confusing cart consisting of 4 gallons of milk, teen deoderant, oxy wash, pacifiers, and my olay deep wrinkle cream, they know to stay quiet. My child propped up with bags of pasta, and not the germ free cushioned liner, is also a good indication I will not take their comments well.

    So, as a 44 year old mother with four children ranging from 2 to 14 and married for 18 years, all I can tell you is NEVER let these comments get you down. Every age is a great age, lots to look forward to, obstacles at every stage, and also something to be grateful for. Time will fly by, and your parents/in-laws are right...cherish every moment of it.