Thursday, January 30, 2020

There's Always One More Thing

Thinking way, way back to when I had my first baby, one of the more vivid adjustments was to how relentless much of the responsibilities feel.

There were plenty of lovely, quiet moments. Moments when I would hold my sweet baby and watch her laugh, and feel her touch my face, and I would try to sear all of it into my brain so I could remember it for both of us. For the most part, she was an easy baby who grew into an adorable toddler and then a charming little girl, and eventually a very sweet teenager.

But at every stage there was always something to monitor, or get past, or solve. There was colic, or eczema, or weird rashes, or hives. Was she getting enough tummy time? There were vaccinations, and ear infections, and wondering if I was exposing her to enough new experiences. Figuring out school for our first child was an ordeal. At some point there were allergies and ear tubes and questions about socialization. There were concerns about how she was handling her dad's deployment. There were concerns about adjusting to his return. There were struggles with certain subjects, and drama with friends, and learning to drive, and cook, and how to frame her passions into something that looks like a future.

Today my daughter is in her last year of high school, preparing to graduate and applying to colleges. She's legally an adult now, but always my baby. There are new things to worry about, and to try and help her solve.

There is always one more thing.

I don't remember when tummy time officially ended. It was a regular real concern until it no longer was. Because whatever the new thing was, it took over, and we monitored and worked on that. And the cycle continues with each new thing, until you look up one day and realize your baby is eighteen and in some arbitrary official sense your job is "done."

But it's never really done. Because there is always one more thing. That's what life is.

And it goes by frighteningly fast.