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Pause for a parenting reflection

Rachel O'Reilly

By Courtney Ward

Last fall, I visited the historic Moss Beach Distillery with my husband and daughter after a day of festivities at the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, in Half Moon Bay, California. The restaurant is as equally known for its breathtaking cliffside views of the pacific as it is for “The Blue Lady,” the resident ghost who has haunted the restaurant for over seventy years.

The day was cold and overcast. The fog was thick and rolled onto the shore in silent disappearing waves. Combined with our family's overflowing Halloween spirit, we decided that this would be a perfect lunch spot, and maybe even become a Halloween tradition.

The last time we had been there was shortly after our daughter was born. We wanted to enjoy a coastal drive and check out somewhere we hadn’t been. The restaurant has an outdoor patio which - bonus! - allows dogs, has a fire pit, and a never ending view of the ocean.

We were so proud to have her out that day to sit outside and enjoy a cold beer and some snacks.

This time, our daughter was four. It’s unbelievable how quickly time has passed since that last visit.

As we were having our lunch and trying to model manners, such as “French fries go in your mouth and aren’t drumsticks”, “The table is not to dance around” and “Please stop staring at the people behind to us,” a couple sat down right next to us with their newborn baby girl. Now we were the ones staring, smiling, remembering our baby that size.

Suddenly everything seemed to come full circle, and the Moss Beach Distillery had magically turned into a time machine.

Often times as parents, you don’t realize how far you have come. We don’t take the time to reflect on the milestones that we’ve passed and how much more equipped we are to be parents now then we were four years ago.

My husband and I smiled at each other in a way we hadn’t in a long time. We had made it this far, together, and now have this little girl, who feels closer to being a teenager than she does to being a newborn.

That’s not to say that parenting suddenly becomes easier at four. As I am writing this I have a sneaking suspicion that my french bulldog has secretly been given half of my daughter’s dinner. I do a double take when I realize that her declaration of “I’m full” now, will become cries of “I’m STAAAARRRVVVING!” in about twenty minutes. Parenting however is a journey, not a race, so next time you feel like you aren’t being all the parent you can, take a moment and reflect on the little victories you have had along the way.

What is a victory that you have had recently? Tell us in the comments below!