This Too Shall Pass…
This too shall pass.
It’s something I’ve repeated to myself time and time again over the course of my 35 years. When running the 12th mile of the New York City Half Marathon in 85 degree heat and my heels felt like there were knives sticking in them, I repeated over and over, “This too shall pass…this too shall pass…this too shall pass…”
When covering breaking news and on the 36th hour of being awake, so tired that the thought of sleep literally brought tears to my eyes, I told myself, “This too shall pass…you will sleep again soon.”
When I regained sensation on my right side during my c-section and I was in perhaps the worst pain of my life, in between really deep breaths, I thought to myself, “This too shall pass. It has to.”
I remember when Ellie was a couple weeks old and in love with nursing every two hours round the clock. On this particular night she sleep straight through, which you would think was just blissful. And it would have been, if it weren’t for the fact that my painfully engorged breasts woke me up about 3 hours after she last fed. And as I was hooking up the breast pump and attaching it to my angry self in the middle of the night, while I looked at a sound asleep newborn, I certainly told myself, “Oh this too shall have to pass…FOR SURE.”
And true to my thinking, that…the thing causing me pain…passed.
Somewhere in those early days of motherhood, my brother-in-law Tj looked at me, probably sensing my um…inability to see outside of the moment and said, “Just get through to 12 weeks. It all gets easier after 12 weeks. I promise.” I nodded (and licked the front of my teeth to see if I had even brushed them that day) and then lifted up my shirt, unhooked my bra and started nursing again.
Those early days of motherhood are crisply burned into my memory forever. I remember what I was wearing when I realized Ellie was going to simply refuse to take a bottle when I returned to work, the pajamas she was wearing when I gave her baby vitamins and she choked on them and turned purple and stopped breathing for a short period of time, the triage nurse’s face when we rolled into the ER after Ellie started throwing up blood on day 8 of vomiting, and the sound of her strong cry at all hours of the day and night.
But they also feel like they were yesterday, even though my little girl is going to be going to Kindergarten in just over a month.
You see, those moments did pass. And so did the incredibly, amazingly wonderful ones as well. The one where I realized for the first time that Ellie actually knew how to hug me, and the ones where she would twirl the hair at the nape of my neck every night at bedtime and the one where she wrote her name for the first time – they all passed too. In the blink of an eye.
I guess that is part of the deal.
While I was driving Ellie to preschool the other day, I started to get tears in my eyes as I realized that, as excited as I am to put Ellie on the bus in the morning and get about 45 minutes back in my day, in a few short weeks, we won’t have our morning rides together, singing along to Taylor Swift and Meghan Trainer. And with tears running down my cheeks, I reached back and held her hand and I thought, “This…this too shall pass.”
I cried on my way back to my home office, thinking about how incapable I am of stopping the forward momentum of time. I tried my best not to think about all of the times I let the seemingly important, but actually inconsequential nonsense of life, distract me from all of the joy and love that comes with being Ellie’s Mom, but I couldn’t help it. Those first 18 months were incredibly difficult to juggle for a number of reasons that actually matter very little right now.
Today, there are times when I feel like I let the frenzy of life that comes with starting a new job and moving into a new home (all within 4 weeks of each other) get in the way of being a great Mom…even though I try at every turn to do everything I can to make her life better. Because now I know… it does pass. I don’t need anyone to remind me that this too shall pass. I have felt the relief and the remorse that comes with the passing of time and the tears aren’t going to do anything to alter it.
What I realized I can do is lean into it, soak it up and appreciate it for all it is worth. It being the moment. I must appreciate the super adorable, but potentially overpriced, Pottery Barn butterfly backpack, make time in my work schedule to be totally focused and there for Ellie on her first bus ride and the following day when we go to visit her school to see her classroom and meet her teacher for the first time. And perhaps, mostly importantly, be aware enough for both of us, to remember that, for better or worse, this too shall pass.