“Just Let Me Lie Down” by Kristin van Ogtrop.
A great book. A wonderful writer. A raw, hilarious, and warming memoir of the working mother.
This post is dedicated to her, and the book’s excerpt that struck me hard. Made me put my feet back on the ground, even if it was just for a moment, and look at my kids….I mean, really LOOK at them. Smell them. Breathe in their energy, their innocence, their fabulousness.
The excerpt is called “Unmilestones” and it’s profound.
A milestone is a baby learning to walk. First word. First home run, first ballet recital. First trip to Disneyland. Accomplishments.
But what about those unmilestones? van Ogtrop muses over the sudden halt of bathing with her son. An “unmilestone”, in her words, is an “[i]mportant developmental moment in the lives of your children that no one notices but that, regarded as a whole, present the depressing truth that your kids are growing up and away from you”.
I think of this excerpt when I look at my oldest daughter’s legs, and wonder when they went from stubby and full with baby fat, to lean and lithe. When I can’t remember how my youngest became a babbling toddler, since it was surely just yesterday that she was an infant, hungrily reliant on my breast milk?
van Ogtrop muses that she wishes someone “would institute a system in which a pleasant chime rings whenever an event that you’re going to want to remember is happening”. And I wholeheartedly agree with her. In fact, I’m going to stop writing right now and invent this chime. I’m sure I have some old batteries and some string somewhere around here….
And perhaps this invention will help those people who think that having a 3rd or 4th child will help them to relive these “unmilestones” properly this time around, but nevertheless these same people always end up looking at each other as they realized their children outnumber them and say “wtf?! why did we do this again???”