Yesterday, we made the mistake of going to a local museum that is a draw for families. It's a big week for schools to be on vacation here, and it was a complete madhouse. As we wandered around, watching children older than Miss M scamper around the exhibits, T casually remarked to me about how he was looking forward to doing something in particular with Miss M when she is three. I can picture exactly where we were when he said this: in the mammals room at the museum, next to a large plastic whale. At that moment, something clicked into place for me in a way that it hadn't previously. That "something" is the fact that childhood is transient and fleeting.
Now I KNOW this, of course. But what I really realized is that the hard stuff about parenting a small child, the mundane stuff like bickering children. . .it passes. It passes rather quickly. Miss M is just shy of 14 months now. She'll be three before we know it. We'll be enjoying that moment that T is looking forward to. The last 14 months have FLOWN by. All of that stuff that I worry about with a second child, it's all going to go by the wayside in the blink of an eye. The things that I value, the reasons for expanding our family, those are big, worthwhile, good-for-a-lifetime reasons. When you make a pro/con list, it's important to realize that the pros and the cons are not necessarily weighted the same, and in the same way.
That seems so obvious now, but it's easy when parenting a small child to get caught up in the details and forget the big picture. I must say, I feel a bit lighter now.