Since my first child was born over nine years ago, I feel like I haven’t been able to catch my breath. As a parent I hit the ground running, and have never truly been able to relish some of the times that, in hindsight, were probably pretty important. I wrote down my kids' first words, but I don’t have a clear memory of when they actually said them. So there are definitely more than a few first baby moments I wish I could relive, because that annoying cliché is true: kids really do grow up so fast. If us parents don’t try to live in the moment, at least sometimes, we might miss all the joy we’re entitled to as hard-working caregivers.
Because there are moments I want to experience again — if only to feel all the warm and fuzzy emotions that come with kids reaching their milestones or doing something hilarious — I try to recognize when I need to savor what’s happening with my kids. I am not a huge fan of board games, for example, but my kids love them and, even more so, love when I play with them, so I really need to sink into those times when we’re gathered around the Trouble board (until the fighting breaks out, because that’s what siblings do). I have learned that the truly joyous moments are not necessarily embedded in the epic events we plan, like birthday parties or trips to amusements parks. It’s in the spaces of time in between the activities; it’s feeling their sweet breath on me when I read to them at night, or them saying how much they like the dinner I made. These are the tiny boosts I need in my everyday life, when it seems like there will be no end to the whining or the tantrum or the laundry.
When I think back on all those "first baby" memories that flew by, almost unnoticed, I wish I could relive some of them over and over again. Not all of them, to be sure, but I wish I could have the following moments back: