We’re in right in the middle of another round of teething at my house. The last round of teething, in fact; the dreaded two year molars, and I have some choice words for those bad boys. Our son has STRUGGLED with teething, and that’s putting it mildly. We’ve endured many nights with runny noses and low-grade fevers, too many tears and not enough sleep. Needless to say, I’m not fond of teething. So why in the world, now that we’re almost past it, am I a little sad?
Well, you see, my husband and I aren’t sure whether or not we’ll have more children. Our son is still young, but he’s getting more self-sufficient, we have a good rhythm, and life is relatively calm – aside from, you know, having a two-year-old and the emotional challenges that entails (read: tantrums). Our family feels complete, and I don’t feel as if anything (or, more specifically, anyone) is missing.
People assure us we’ll change our minds in a year or two – and we very well may – but what if we don’t? What if we’re a ‘one and done’ family? If that’s the case – if these are the last sweet little baby teeth I’ll watch sprout through – then that changes my perspective.
If this is the only time I’m going to do this motherhood thing, then I’m determined not to rush through it. Not to wish for the next stage, but to find the beautiful parts of the stage I’m in. I don’t particularly enjoy the days when nothing goes as planned and everything is a fight, but I love the sweet little boy who’s fighting me, and he’s only going to be this age once.
So I’ll embrace the teething, the tantrums, the emotional volatility; because, like everything else in parenting, it’s just a phase and it’ll pass. And I’ll cling especially tightly to the minutiae of the day-to-day that is so easy to overlook. Things like the amazingly unconditional love I receive from our son daily. How, right now, I’m his absolute favorite person in the world. How he stops in the middle of playing just to come say, “I love you, mama.” His giggles of joy at the simplest thing, like all of us snuggling on the couch together. How everything becomes an adventure when we do it together.
Whether you have one child or ten, let’s all consciously slow down a little bit and make the most of the day we’ve been given with our children. Embrace the stage you’re in because, for better or worse, it only happens once. And maybe, just maybe, take a second to think fondly of those little baby teeth.