...on this day, nearing the fifth anniversary of me becoming a mother. A list to myself, five years ago.
1. Memory keeping will take on a whole new meaning. The significance of documenting another’s life is not lost on you.
2. You will have one vice. Starbucks. Don’t feel guilty, you earn it.
3. You will think about sleep more than you’ve ever thought about anything else. Your sleep, his sleep, how everyone in the world is sleeping more than you. And you will hate them.
4. With this little boy, you will find a joy in words that even as a lifelong writer, you’ve never known.
5. I would like to tell you that all good days outweigh the bad. But there will be bad days that make you feel like there will never be good ones again. There will be days when you are so tired, you get lost in what your life has become. The dirty house, the friendships you have been bad about maintaining, the 8,000 e-mails, the things that somehow seem so hard now.
6. The friendships you will savor are not those women you see every day, every week or every month, necessarily. They are the friendships that have been time-tested. The friends who look at you at the end of their daughter’s birthday, and plead, “Please don’t leave. Don’t leave.” And you don’t.
7. You will surprise yourself at your ability to stand up for yourself and your family.
8. You will still cringe when the mothers, older than you, approach you with advice about parenting, just as you did when you were pregnant and people said things like, “Just wait.” You will still vow to never be one of those women, even though you understand now that it’s mostly nostalgia for these women. Because you are nostalgic too.
9. Ken will be the best father you’ve ever seen or known. Every night, you both will collapse into bed, exhausted, and always, always sleep less than an inch apart, clinging to each other for what seems like dear life.
10. Your sense of accomplishment will completely change. A favorable annual review has nothing on the first time your infant sleeps through the night for three nights successively (one night is a fluke) or takes his first few tentative steps toward you. I remember the first time Charlie clapped, thinking, “How many times will he clap in his life and I just saw the first?” The significance, the profoundness of it all, is never lost on you.
11. You'll leave your job before those frames behind you ever get hung.