This Too Shall Pass
Like most parents I know, I find myself, every few months, on my knees in front of my son’s dresser, elbow deep in his mismatched socks and outgrown jumpers. I try, every season, to clear out my son’s drawers of outgrown clothes and make room for the outfits he’ll need in the coming months. Last month, as I cleared out drawers to make room for his new 3T outfits, I found an old bib, light blue and covered in stains; it had been well worn.
My son hasn’t worn bibs in a long time but, in an instant, I was transported back to the time we made our way to Babies-R-Us to buy a multi-pack after the doctor told us we shouldn’t expect his near-constant spitting up to cease any time soon. On the car-ride from the doctor’s office to the store, I cried. I had eliminated everything but fruit, veggies, and grain from my diet but my son’s acid reflux still wouldn’t get better. We’d taken the prescription they’d given us for reflux medicine but I worried that giving him twice daily doses to solve this problem would be damaging him in some unknown way we wouldn’t discover for year and years. Remembering this worry, the pain of new motherhood, I felt a great empathy for this not-so-long ago me, but also a sense of happiness and light because, now, my son is fine.
In the first year of my boy’s life there were so many moments I wondered if it would all be okay. There was the time I bumped his head on the doorframe when he was barely a week old and I panicked over an imagined concussion. There were the, the many, many times that the growth charts didn’t see the development I did, and the constant, early fear that he wasn’t getting enough to eat. I remember the way my worries seemed magnified at night when I felt there was no one to call and the loneliness of sitting awake at 3:00am as little cries echoed through our home.
I wish, during those long early days and even longer early nights, that I could have peeked into the future and caught a glimpse of my boy now. He is strong and happy and kind. He’s only two years old but he sets the table and he has friends and he sleeps through the night every single night. All those fears of the first year have dissipated and I have found myself, like my boy, stronger, happier, and kinder to myself. I know now that there are some things that matter very, very much — like having parents who love one another, a home that is safe, and a belly that’s full — and some things that matter so little — like whether those parents go to every pediatrician’s visit together or whether that home is rented or owned or if that belly gets filled with the assistance of a nipple shield for the first few weeks.
I do still worry, all the good parents do, but, when the worries strike, I look down at my son — strong, happy, and kind — and know that whatever I’m currently worrying about, it too will pass and my son will be okay.