This Is What It Looks Like (Day #46)

She was propped up on the couch pillows, just looking around, happy as could be.  Delightfully un-moany.  If I’ve learned anything in Life with a Newborn, it’s to seize these moments.  I used to wait, wanting to first confirm that Lil Mil’s contentment would last more than a few minutes.

It rarely did.

Now I know that even a few minutes, strung together, are enough. Not to do everything I want to do, or even most of what I need to do, but enough to do something. Craft a quick email. Write a couple lines of dialogue. Read a blog post.

There are days where these moments are all I have. I have learned not to waste them waiting to see if they’re going to last.

So yesterday, there she was, propped up on the pillows, content. I was perched on the edge of the couch, laptop on my lap, trying to catch up on emails. One of them was a new post from a blog I love. I glanced back at Lil Mil – still happy! not moany! – then started reading.

The post was about a mom’s struggle for time. The internal debate over how to spend found moments. Reconciling the I Shoulds and the I Wants.

I loved this post. I understood this post. This post understood me.

I loved it so much that I (like the 27 commenters before me) felt compelled to comment. I wanted to chime in on the conversation, add something meaningful to the discussion, contribute my two cents. But as I was scrolling down through the existing comments, making my way to the comment box at the bottom, I heard a moan. More of a whimper, really. Slightly muffled.

I looked back at Lil Mil. Or, rather, I looked down at her. She was almost beside me now, on her belly, arms and legs flailing. Somehow between my last look back (how long ago was that?) and this moment, she had face-planted onto the couch. It seemed to have been more of a dive, actually, because she’d landed several inches from where she would’ve had she just tipped forward.

Amazingly, she wasn’t crying. She wasn’t even really moaning. The sound I heard was her exertion as she struggled to get into a comfortable position. She wasn’t trying to get my attention. She didn’t need me yet. She was figuring this out on her own.

And I was missing it.

There I was, fingers poised to type a blog comment about the struggle for time. My internal debate over how to spend found moments. How I reconcile the I Shoulds and the I Wants. And there she was. My daughter. Somewhere other than where I left her.

This is what the struggle for time looks like, I thought. This. My life.

My life is a struggle for time.

And so, instead of writing the comment I planned to leave, I wrote this instead:

This is my life now, as a mom. Trying to find time to read and to think and to write while there is this little person beside me. If I stare at her constantly, I won’t have any time to do these things that I love. But if I look away for too long, she’ll end up in different place than where I left her.

I would have written more, but my time was up.


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