When the tiny, wrinkled baby was first placed in Carol’s arms, an older, experienced mom passed by her room, peeked in, and told her, “They grow up so fast. Enjoy every minute.” As so Carol did.
As she held that new baby to her breast for the seventeenth time that hour, Carol exclaimed with happiness, “I love drinking my coffee cold! And these chapped nipples feel fabulous!”
Getting up every hour at night was thrilling for Carol. “Perfect Strangers and Golden Girls on TV at one, three, and five AM? Sign me up. I don’t need sleep, I have eighties sitcoms. This is the best.”
Pacing back and forth with her little joy-giver screaming in her ear became Carol’s favourite hobby. “Eating and showering every day has nothing on the enjoyment I get from listening to incessant, inconsolable crying. I hope this colic never ends!”
Carol wept with glee when her toddler’s diaper exploded all over the throw pillows section of Walmart. “Oh, baby’s first public defecation! This is going in the baby book. And I could use twelve new shit-covered pillows for the couch.”
As the sippy cup whizzed past the dog and nailed her square in the forehead, she marveled at her baby’s impeccable aim. “We have a future pitcher on our hands! What a talented little person.”
Carol made sure she got the best custom frame available for the tomato-spaghetti mural on the freshly-painted kitchen wall. She would cherish this piece of art from her little Picasso forever. They would never sell the house, this masterpiece must be preserved.
There was nothing Carol loved more than shuttling her little darling to extra-curricular activities each night. There was no such thing as being tired after a hard day’s work and wanting to just chill and watch TV when her small wonder had places to be. And recitals were completely enthralling, even when it was other people’s three-year-olds swaying back and forth on the stage with no actual sense of rhythm and her child had already performed hours ago.
When Carol didn’t have enough money for the six-thousand-dollar toy at the end of aisle, the piercing screams coming from her little siren were music to her ears. She was thoroughly enjoying this impromptu concert in the middle of the crowded store. Everyone must be staring at her because they were impressed by her child’s strong lungs.
Early morning band practice was the best. It was so awesome getting up at 5:30 to schlep her kid and the monstrous tenor sax to school by sunrise. Listening to an eleven-year-old with zero years experience practice all night was also truly lovely. Her only ennui was that she no longer got to experience the melodic sounds of the five-dollar recorder. “Now, now, Carol,” she chastised herself. “None of that. You must enjoy every moment.”
When the constant light of her life screamed, “I hate you!” and slammed the bedroom door, Carol got chills. “I love every damn second of this parenting gig. There is nothing about this that sucks at all.”
As the years went on, and her child grew, Carol stuck to her promise to enjoy every moment. And as her now-grown child crossed the stage to collect that coveted diploma, Carol’s eye began to twitch. All of her hair turned grey and fell out. Her face contracted in wrinkles, and the scream she had held in for eighteen years erupted from her throat. Yes, an entire childhood of stress hit Carol all at once, and that, Carol admitted, was unpleasant. But at least she had enjoyed every minute.