It was about a month before our first daughter was born that I first heard those fateful words:
"Enjoy every moment," a relative said, "because they grow up so fast."
Fast forward a month and there I am in the shower – shell shocked – hiding from this new baby who won't stop screaming. My wife and I weren't sleeping, weren't eating, and – to be honest – I more than once wondered whether having kids was a mistake.
Our oldest had colic, as many babies do. She also had (correction: has) a fast metabolism. My poor wife. The kid took 30 minutes to eat and then wanted to eat again 60 minutes after she finished. Not until the first night that she had solid foods – 4 1/2 months old – did our oldest sleep more than four hours straight.
"Enjoy every moment." Right.
Since then, our lives – like all parents' – have been sprinkled with moments no one in their right mind could enjoy. A 4-year-old who won't get dressed the morning you have an early meeting; a 3-year-old who won't take her medicine, even though it helps her feel better, because it tastes yucky; fighting siblings; 100 other things.
Last week after the oldest – no longer colicky and every bit a young girl – started riding the bus, I went to work. A nice lady, upon hearing the story, said, "Enjoy every minute, Dave, because they grow up so fast."
I've gotten used to it. Still, and maybe it's the cynic in me, I can't help but sigh whenever I hear it. I know people mean well. Heck, I even get what they're saying. Life moves fast. Savor the good stuff.
Just the same, I've made a point to never say that to anyone, especially a new parent. In fact, on those rare occasions when I'm asked by a first-time parent-to-be what they should expect, I usually try to tell them to not feel guilty when they have moments of doubt, desperation, and even anger.
I tell them there will be hard times, but there will be far more good times. I tell them that especially early on the days go slow, but the months go fast.
You can't enjoy every moment. You just can't. No one can, and no matter how well intentioned, it's simply not the right thing to say to a new or expecting parent.
Maybe better advice would be, "Life moves fast. Remember the good times."