When new moms, or those hoping to be moms one day, ask us what the hardest part about being a mom is, our typical standard reaction is to tell them it’s watching your child grow up and move away. While it’s true that it is definitely one of the hardest milestones in your child’s life to accept, for myself and other seasoned moms out there, it turns out that it is not really the part that hurts the most.
The hardest part of being a mom is the soul crushing realization of the fact that you are forgetting…
All of those moments you told yourself that you knew you would never forget; how it felt to run your fingers through your toddler’s hair, the look on your little one’s face when they took their first steps, their first words, even the first time you heard them say mama. We tell ourselves during the moment that there’s no way we will ever forget it.
Until we do…
As I sit here gently rubbing the cheek of my sweet 2-year-old, my last baby, I try to remember doing the same with my 19-year-old or my 14-year-old and I realize that I can’t. This precious moment that feels like heaven to me with my sweet baby is one that I want to hold onto for years and decades beyond. I want to be able to remember it and feel this joy forever, but I realize that I won’t. At some point along the way I will start forgetting.
All of those precious first years I spent with my babies have just disappeared along the way. The years when our bond was closer than any other. The years when I was their entire world. The years that I just knew would be etched in perfection within my mind forever, have faded away one precious moment at a time.
I can’t remember…
When I try to recall my 14-year-old daughter’s first words or first steps, I can’t. When I try to remember the sound of my 19-year-old’s sweet boy’s laugh when he was young, I can’t. I know all of those times and moments happened and I know I was there, but no matter how much I try, I can’t remember it.
Being unable to remember all of the moments you desperately want to is one of the worst pains I have ever experienced and I live with it daily. Every time my toddler reaches another milestone or does something so adorable, I try to remember it with my first two and I just can’t.
I can’t remember…
Smart phones weren’t created until around the time my middle child was born and they were too expensive and not very user friendly, so I didn’t invest in it. My memories of my first children are captured mostly in film and even those are few and far between as carrying a camera everywhere back then just wasn’t considered normal.
I can remember bits and pieces of that time, but it feels like I’m thinking about someone else’s story. Some TV show I watched. A lifetime that I know happened, but no longer feels as though it was real.
At this very moment, I have approximately 27,000 pictures and videos on my smart phone. At least 3/4 of them are of my youngest child. Capturing moments and memories has become so much easier with him, but even still, I forget and I know I will continue to forget.
I know there are moms with amazing perfect memories who never forget anything and I will be the first to raise my hand and say I’m jealous. However, moms like me seem to be in the majority when it comes to the inability to remember those precious moments we swore we could never forget. To you moms out there in the same boat as me, I am sorry. I truly am. I know how much it hurts and I wish I had a solution. God knows I do.
For the young moms out there just getting started, I just want to say please don’t assume you’ll remember those precious moments forever. Try to capture as many of them on camera or in writing as you can. My memory was fantastic during those early years of being a mom, but unfortunately it’s just not anymore and I am only 39.
I make it a point to really step back and enjoy each moment now. I know I will likely never get to enjoy that moment again, even in my memories, so there’s nothing more important to me than making sure I am living in the present and enjoying every second that I can.