You tell yourself you’re going to notice the changes. You know things go quickly like clouds whipping past a plane window as you raise your tray to the full upright and locked position. One minute you are at the hospital hearing the tiny shrieks of a little thing, wondering like hell how you’re going to have the energy this time around. You think you’ll always be doing diapers, bottles, and the other activities of babyhood that are as foreign and intense as the first bite of baba ghanoush. Because of the stress and horrible sleep patterns, you see each night as a step in a marathon—just one more, then one more after that.
Then you are finishing up the dishes, wiping your hands on a dishrag and realize the end passed you by. I’ve been trying to transition Number Two from nighttime feedings to nighttime reassurances to sleeping through the night. My gaze so focused on these milestones I missed my last nighttime feeding, a special time when I carry the hungry squeaking little boy from his crib into the kitchen, fumble to make a bottle of milk with one hand, then we sit in the living room in the dark as the world wheels around us and the activities of deep night go on unperturbed by two people in a dark house, one serving and one eating. That was our time, a simple act of providence and sustenance, when he could be thankful for warm arms and a full bottle and I could be thankful for his satisfied sighs, and the way he rolled over and went right back to sleep, a happy little grub in the white quadrangle of his crib.
For people to tell you it goes by fast is like hearing that the sun will come up tomorrow. Of course it will but it only becomes real when you experience it yourself as you suffer the dark night to finally see light dial up in the eastern sky. While my time of nighttime feedings is over there are hundreds of thousands of moments that haven’t yet occurred, ripples far out in the sea that have yet to surge to shore. While I lament what’s gone, I can’t wait for the sun to come up tomorrow to see what time I get with him next.