While I was pregnant with my daughter, some friends threw me a shower. Everyone wrote random messages on diapers so my husband and I could have some laughs in the midst of the unpleasant work of cleaning tiny bums. The diaper messages have included things like "Oops, I did it again!" or "Hey, at least I'm cute," or, my personal favorite, "This one's for Daddy."
The other day, I carried my 8-week old daughter to her room to be changed yet again. I'd forgotten that she was wearing one of these "diapers with a message," and when I unsnapped her onesie, the words, "This won't last forever" stared up at me.
This won't last forever.
I knew the words were meant to be a light-hearted fist-bump, a way of saying, "Don't worry, you won't have to change diapers constantly around the clock for the rest of your life—you can get through this!"
Hallelujah for that.
But as I changed my daughter's diaper and picked her up, holding her tiny frame against me, I allowed the truth of those words to sink in: "This won't last forever."
There are so many days when "this" feels like it will never end. The diaper changes. The runny noses. The tantrums. The spit-up. The sleepless nights. The I'm-never-alone-but-still-feel-lonely feelings.
And yet there are so many more times when I'm hit with the reality that "this" lasts for only a short moment in time. While holding my daughter, I watched my 2-year-old, who was conversing—yes, actually conversing—with his toy truck. ("Hey truck, did you make it to the building site? OK, see you there!") In that moment, I realized:
He'll never be the size of my tiny daughter again. I'll never put him in a onesie or wear him in a baby wrap or be able to fit his feet in the palm of my hand again.
Almost imperceptibly, my grip on my daughter tightened, as if I feared the moment itself would disappear into the past if I didn't hold on to it.
I'll be honest—there are days I feel bored, lonely and discouraged. I've felt like a failure, an unqualified woman limping through the day while bearing the undeserved title of "mom." On days like these, I cling to the promise that "this won't last forever." My dreams of sleeping through the night, regular date nights, eating an entire meal uninterrupted or going to the bathroom without having a toddler beat the door down give me hope that my sanity isn't a complete lost cause.
But on the many days where things just go right—when my daughter smiles at me like I'm the most amusing, interesting thing in her little world, or when my son wraps his arms around my neck and tells me he loves me—those are the times when the words "This won't last forever" make me cling to the precious moments that seem to be slipping through my hands all too quickly.
"This won't last forever."
How can four simple words both thrill and terrify me?
It's so easy to fall into the habit of always living for what's next instead of enjoying the present moment. But none of it lasts forever. And I know someday I'll be missing the days when my son begs me to chase him or play trucks together, and I'll wish I could still cuddle my baby girl or hear her sweet baby sounds.
Wherever you are, whatever season you're in—be there. Be present. Don't miss it. Because, after all, this won't last forever.
Mary Holloman is married to her handsome husband of five years and has two children: a 2-year old son who never stops moving and a brand-new baby girl. Mary works and writes for Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center and also serves in her local church's college ministry. You can follow her daily shenanigans on her blog, "All My Springs," which can be found at allmyspringsblog.com or follow her on Twitter at @mtholloman.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.