As parents, we often think the big events will be the most memorable.
The trip to Disneyland. The surprise puppy under the Christmas tree. The over-the-top birthday celebration.
We build them up in our minds, convinced they'll make a lasting memory.
Today I pulled out my Daily Calendar Book from 1997, where for each day I had written, in two or three lines, what was memorable on those sleep-deprived days at the beginning of motherhood, and I realized something I often forget.
The smallest moments happening day after day and year after year, strung together like pearls on a string, often make the very treasures of parenthood.
Like this treasured memory on New Year's Eve...
After an exhausting day of diaper changing, a baby-feeding frenzy and hormones flying around the room and off the charts, I ended the day sitting in my blue rocker, my husband close by on the couch and my three week old baby in my arms. The surrounding quiet was like a warm blanket, keeping out the cold winter night. With each chime toward midnight the New Year’s Eve fireworks lit the sky, as if my own delight was being celebrated.
I sank deep into a pocket of satisfaction. After years of longing and infertility and miscarriages, this was exactly where I wanted to be.
In that moment I sat still long enough to soak it up.
I don't believe everyone would have felt the sense of satisfaction I felt at home with a newborn on New Year's Eve, but I do believe we all want to look back on our lives and know that there have been moments that we'll never forget. Looking back over the past 20 years, I can see that those moments are often the simple, unplanned, middle-of-the-mess ones that so easily pass us by.
Parenthood is a whirlwind of activity that leaves us breathless as we try to keep up - to do it right - to make it all worth it. Rarely do we get those perfect Pinterest moments we've grown accustomed to judging our lives against.
But the worthy moments are there: unexpected, frequently free, often fleeting. They are there, when we slow down briefly and pay attention. And our reward will be a string of memories, bright as a string of pearls.