We went to a very special birthday party today - one of my best friends has five little monkeys (triplets and twins born 13 months apart), and today was their joint birthday party. I wish I had gotten many more pictures from today's events, but we were so busy wrangling the kiddeos that I just couldn't keep snapping photos.
What struck me so much was when my friends Cherie and Kelli, fellow triplet moms, saw my kids and exclaimed, "When did they shoot up so much??" and "When did they stop being babies and turn into toddlers??" Cherie even did a double take and said to me, "Wait, is she yours!?" when she saw me holding Ellie. It's unbelievable how quickly time has flown, and how big and mature my tiny babies have become in so short a time. I know it's a beautiful thing to see, and I know this is what every parent wishes for their children - that they should grow and thrive and develop into little people, but it is still disconcerting to me as a mommy. I worry sometimes that I am missing out on too many of the precious details in the lives of my children and that time is a thief stealing away those moments which I crave so much.
One of the great gifts that infertility gave to me was the certainty that every moment with my children is a gift - not a right - and I try to cherish each milestone, each day, each snapshot in time of parenting all four of my children to the greatest extent possible. I know that some days I fall short of that, but it is what I strive for. I would like to think that I would have taken just as much care to cherish each moment with my children even without the experience of infertility - and I know I would have adored my children, I know I would have loved every moment of parenthood - but I'm quite certain that my perspective is different as a result of infertility. I don't mean to suggest I love my children more, or that people who haven't experienced infertility don't appreciate their children - none of that could possibly be true. Only that for me, I know that I find myself thinking about my gratitude for my children in a way (and with far more frequency) than I think I probably would have had I not had the experience that I had.
But, time does pass, even though sometimes I would love to press the pause button and savor each moment just a little longer. And my kids - all of them - are growing up before my very eyes. Today was Jack, Evan, Will, Noelle, and Lilley's birthday party - another year passing which means just two more months until my kids turn 6 and 2. Holy smokes! They just get cuter and cuter, though! Take a look for yourself!
A classic Abby pose - serious and sophisticated