As a mother, the hardest thing about living in the present is accepting the good things along with the bad. I often wished for Ellery to hurry and get through a phase, but then once it was gone, I missed it and wished I could get the time back. The newborn phase was really hard for me, and I remember feeling overwhelmed and exhausted and praying for the day she was 3 months old. And now as I look back at photos of that time, all I can think about is the sweet scent of her tiny head, and the way her body snuggled up so perfectly to mine, how completely smitten I was with my new baby. One of my friends once told me that at the end of weddings she's always jealous of the bride and groom because she knows how sweet and fun their honeymoon will be. And I feel the same for brand new parents; it's a sweet honeymoon of getting to know the little person who you've been waiting nine months to meet. I get a little jealous whenever I hear that someone just had a baby, knowing what a precious sliver of time that is. I know not everyone has that experience, but for us, the first 3 weeks were absolute bliss.
This whole lesson of accepting the good along with the bad in order to fully appreciate the present doesn't just apply to motherhood. When I was engaged, I was so excited to marry Sam that I impatiently counted the days until our wedding, trying to stay busy in order to make the time pass more quickly. Looking back, I realize what a fun time of life that was. I was living with one of my best friends in my favorite area ever (um, Sonoma county), surrounded by great friends and people. I was in love and planning my wedding. Life seemed pretty carefree - going out on dates with my fiance, having dance parties and pomegranate martinis with Bree in our apartment, going to French restaurants in San Francisco, numerous Giants games, and lots of late nights at Volpi's. And yet all I wanted was to be married. Then once we got married, our circumstances were pretty rough. Being married was fun, but we moved away from our beloved Petaluma, away from our group of friends, and we both had jobs we didn't like, with schedules that made it so we hardly saw each other. I wish I had appreciated that engagement period far more than I did, because once the time arrived that I'd been wishing and wishing for, it was much harder than I thought it would be.
I had so much fun becoming a mother that I couldn't wait to have another baby. I was ecstatic when we found out we were pregnant, and loved the idea of Ellery having a sibling so close in age. And, as many pregnant women do, I wished that the first trimester would hurry and fly by so I'd get my energy back and feel a little more "safe" in the pregnancy. Now that I'm starting my third trimester, I just want to stop time. I know how overwhelming it will be having two children, and it's finally hitting me how hard life is about to become. I know it will be wonderful, but there are also so many things about this time of life I'm going to miss. I'm going to miss being able to give Ellery my full attention, and I'm going to miss being able to easily leave the house. This pregnancy is simply moving too fast for my taste, and even though I wished it would hurry in the beginning, now I'm wishing it would slow down.
I've learned that I want to cherish each day and each stage of life, no matter what that means. There are good things and bad things in every day, and to wish away a certain season is unwise. It's funny how many people are wishing and wishing for fall weather up here in Oregon, when I know that pretty soon, everyone will be wishing away all the gray days and rain. Come next May, everyone will be more than ready for the beautiful, sunny days, and yet few people seem satisfied with the extra sun and warmth we are getting right now. But the truth is, we don't appreciate the summer as much without those gray days, at least not up here. And I'm even learning to appreciate the rain, especially as so many of my loved ones are currently enduring a terrible drought.
For me, properly living in the present involves being thankful for each moment. It means living gratefully in each day, welcoming whatever may come. So for now, that's what I'm practicing. Because honestly, the past wasn't as good or bad as I remember, and the future doesn't necessarily mean things will be better or worse than they are now. The future will bring it's own set of problems and wonderful times, so for now I'll just focus on today.