A week ago, we attended the White House Egg Roll. We’d never been before and it was deeply memorable: perfect azure-sky weather, a lot for the children to see and do, time in the historic center of our nation, and the shock of realizing that going on these little adventures as a family has gotten easier. This last insight tossed me off center, as I routinely mourn my now-gone baby days. The other day, I saw a beautiful video on Instagram in which a baby was smiling and cooing at his father and found tears streaming down my cheeks. I remember those early connections, the way they left me hopeful and intact. The way I felt needed, deserving. I write so much about the agony of watching your babies grow and the pique of wondering: “Did I adequately treasure every first and last?” I find myself sniffling over the outgrown jon jons and placing my hand over my heart when early videos return my daughter’s squeaky, lispy baby voice to me.
And yet. Last Monday greeted me with fresh insight: “Every phase is a good phase.” Yes, the baby years are laden with sweetness and innocence, but this one we’re living out today is just as beautiful, and, dare I say it, less demanding? My children were remarkably patient and enduring in the face of long walks and wait times; we suffered no strollers, meltdowns, or disasters. It occurred to me that life has gotten much simpler in this regard: they have more stamina, more forbearance. I saw us as a unit, building core memories together in ways that felt less frenetic and tinged-by-possible-toddler-inflicted-calamity than ever before. There was no racing home for a nap time, or desperately trying to head off a meltdown with just-in-time snacks, or prying my child’s arms from the Easter Bunny. The day stretched out amicably in front of us, and we laughed at jokes and sang the songs from Trolls (my children’s current favorite soundtrack) and talked about who lives in the White House, and what happens at the Capitol, and my son asked me if God made the Washington Monument, and I didn’t know what to say and so we talked around the subject until he was satisfied.
Still, on the Metro ride from Bethesda downtown, I could not stop staring at the way my son’s still-tiny legs jutted out straight over the edge of the seat, his feet flopping pigeon-toed over every bump and screech in the track. He clasped his hands together in focus, and his saucer-like eyes absorbed everything on the train and outside of it. It was the sweetest reminder, this treasured mama’s view (and his complete lack of self-awareness in it), that he is still so little. Young enough to still want to hold my hand, flop into my lap, clutch at my skirts while waiting in line, and yet sturdy enough to withstand a substantive and stimulating half-day excursion, walking almost the entire 4 miles we clocked himself. (One of the most useful things I learned from my daughter’s first Montessori: children can walk their ages in miles. If they complain about tired legs…well, they have more juice than you think.)
Mr. Magpie and I were on cloud nine on the Metro ride home, ambitiously planning family Nats trips and tickets to the new Lion King performance at The Kennedy Center, and I looked over at my family and felt nearly overrun by happiness. I thought to myself: I am happy for what I have while I have it. I can miss my babies, but I must also embrace them as they are now, before I misplace those tiny loafered feet, and the way his hands still play idly at my hem, and his teardrop eyes as he says: “Mama, you know what? I love you. I love you-hoo-hoo.” He uses this formula all the time: the question to get my attention; the affirmation of love; and then the silly hooting sounds at the end, and —
Oh, friends —
Every phase is a good phase.
If you are weaning, or selling the bassinet, or sending your little one off to school, or retiring the car seats, or helping your son pack for college —
Lean into this: Every phase is a good phase, because your baby is at the center of it.
+Excuse me as I fix my mascara, but motherhood is a surfeit.
+Focus and the fibers of motherhood. This one always makes me feel a little bit better.
+She was how she kept time — how my grandmother’s world revolved around her daughter.
+I am wearing my trusty Maxwell and Geraldine Kate dress, which is sort of my “go-to travel/adventure dress” because it’s very comfortable, has a nice midi length (not maxi – so easier to walk in/go up steps in), and looks great on its own or beneath a cardigan for varying temps. It also washes nicely in the laundry. I am wearing my trusty Loeffler Randall leonies because they are SO comfortable. I walked four miles in them that day and didn’t once think about my feet. THE MOST COMFORTABLE FLAT I’ve ever worn. Wondering if I need them in another color…maybe will wait until fall and buy something seasonal for then.
+Micro is wearing these Oso and Me pants, which never fail to garner compliments. Oso and Me pieces are specifically designed to “grow with the child” so he will easily get a full two summers of wear out of them! He’s been loving these adorable little Janie and Jack drivers, and this oatmeal-colored rollneck sweater has actually surprised me with a lot of mileage so far this season.
+I meant to mention in my beauty post on Friday that I’m ordering this inexpensive facial sunscreen I keep hearing people rave about. $16? Yes please. Love an unfussy, inexpensive staple. That said, this Supergoop sunscreen remains my absolute favorite for pool days. It applies so easily and really stays put.
+A great inexpensive bag for toting beach toys / gear.
+A bunch of really great DVF styles just landed at The Outnet — how chic is this pink print mini, this bird-print mini, and this broderie anglaise style? I feel like DVF is really stretching out its fashion wings, as none of them look super “DVF” to me, not that I don’t also love her classic styles. But the patterns are more Erdem and the shapes more Cara Cara? Just feel FRESH!
+These patterned botanical shorts are pretty fab.
+LOVE this happy little vase. Only $32!
+Another Saloni slam dunk. I truly love this brand. I have a bunch of their dresses I’ve purchased over the years — I would guess that Saloni and Ulla Johnson are the most-represented dress labels in my closet. They offer such gorgeous, tailored silhouettes.
+I bought my children these rubber velcro-backed sandals for outdoor water play. The last two summers, they’ve worn these, which you kind of can’t beat for the price. They’re lightweight, velcro in the back, entirely waterproof, come in great colors, never seem to give my children blisters — and they’re $10. Both great options. However (!) My daughter has been begging me (?) for flip-flops! How does she know what they are? These bow ones are kind of sweet (also find some on sale at Zulily here) and they remind me of my Valentino ones. I actually hung onto those and still pull them out from time to time. Or maybe it is time to introduce her to the world of Jack Rogers…
+These wavy glass straws are in my cart for summer beverages.
+Cheerful, inexpensive beach towels.
+This sofa is super-similar to the one our interior designer sourced for us and had custom upholstered. I love the slightly modern shape given that we are pretty traditional in the furnishings of our home.
+A chic cache of SLVRLAKE jeans on sale here.
+Gorgeous scalloped mirror.
+We have and love these pasta storage bins. I know it sounds extraneous, but we do buy dried pasta in bulk from Gustiamo up in NYC, and so it’s great to decant the enormous bags into smaller, airtight bins. We’re big pasta people. We probably eat it once a week! (This pasta dish would be my preferred final meal on earth.)