Mike and I had a two-year engagement. At times it felt like an eternity, waiting and waiting for that day to arrive. But when I thought about the day-by-day steps it took to get me from the day he proposed to the day I walked down the aisle, it really didn't seem like that long. During the time in between, I went back to school and finished my degree, changed jobs, traveled to England, went to Disney World for the first time, and save a whole bunch of money. The stuff in between was fun and shouldn't have been glossed over. I grew a lot in that time and I wish sometimes that I hadn't sat there, hoping it would go by quickly.
The same thing happened after the wedding. I saw the next part of my life as two stages: getting pregnant and having the baby. While I waited for stage one, I saw Paris and London, I moved, I got (another) new job, I wrote two novels. And while I was pregnant, I learned about myself, about how amazing the human body is, and I got to spend some time relaxing and just enjoying my life. I'd started to learn to enjoy the stuff in between. It meant more, watching my belly grow day by day, dreaming of the baby to come, washing all those tiny clothes in preparation.
The time in between Ellie's birth and her trip home from the hospital, however, I wanted to fast forward. I tried and tried to do it. All the diversionary tactics I attempted failed. All the game nights and movies and books I read... just passing time. My brain couldn't engage anything meaningful during that time in between. Nothing except "what happens next." Everything I said was "when she comes home" or "when this is all over." I know I could've used that time better - made more money writing articles in my spare time or finished the edits on Re-Gifting Ava. Sometimes I regret not making the most of the time in between those milestones, but I know that there was nothing to be done. Nothing mattered except my baby.
Needless to say, I'm desperate now to hold onto the time in between Ellie and whatever comes next. We moved, I switched careers, I'm here with her... all of these things are what's important. And let's not forget the importance of caring for your body in the time between baby #1 and #2. I'm not ready for that yet - I need to heal, physically and emotionally. I'll take my time and enjoy all the scratches and bites my daughter doles out, all the spit up, all the poopie diapers. Everything.
On a daily basis, I measure my life in "times in between." There's the time between naps, the time between bottles, the time between getting up and going to bed, the time between deadlines, the time between weekends, the time between Patriots games... I take these moments and I do the best I can. I keep up with housework, work on articles, edit my work when I can, eat healthy and exercise. I cram it all into the time in between.
And when I catch myself living in the future, waiting for the next big event on the horizon, I always re-center myself. No more of that. Because really, that's what life is... it's all the time in between.