Let me assure you, you’ve forgotten.
You have forgotten the worst moments, where you screamed at your screaming baby, where you held them just a little too tight and patted them just a little too hard.
The arching, stiff back that throws their little (getting bigger every day) body out of your arms, diving to catch them before their head hits the ground and tweaking your back and slumping to the floor and everyone’s crying and the 4-year-old dances over, throws a car at your face, and shouts “I’M HUNGRY!”
Wanting to sleep forever, wistfully fantasizing about a coma, knowing the debt of rest is so deep it will take years to recover.
Frantically patting your pockets for a soother, WHERE IS THAT ****ing SOOTHER, trying to lower their heavy bodies on a tightrope down into the crib, easy now, easy easy, and just as you’re about to let out your breath, one eye cracks open and the crying starts a g a i n and the 4 year old runs in, throws something wet at your face, and shouts “I’M HUNGRY”.
The crushing need hovering over you like a dark rain cloud ready to crack open at any moment.
The moments you shout and regret shouting (oh, the regret).
The rage rising out of you, words tumbling wildly out of your mouth in a voice you don’t recognize.
The small and large failures whose ghosts sidle up next to you at night and whisper in your tired ears. The cacophony of noise.
You’ve forgotten. I’ll forget. It will soften and smooth around the edges. We’ll chuckle and say, remember those days? My sister said, “All of these difficult phases, they will consume you, and then one day they’ll suddenly be over and the trauma of them won’t stay with you. You’ll forget it even happened.” She was right.
The gift of sitting in the trauma of this moment, in the grief of inadequacy and failure, is the comfort of knowing that I will forget. This part will fade and what’s left won’t be the car in the face, but the sweet kiss better afterwards. What’s left won’t be my quiet time interrupted, but a ridiculous family bath. What’s left will be beautiful. It will all be beautiful.