A few days ago I brought a meal to a friend who just had her third baby. I walked in to their house around 5pm, and I felt like I was walking into my life about 3 years ago. Their oldest, who’s 4, was absolutely smitten over their new baby brother, showering him with kisses the whole time I was there. The middle, who’s 2, was clinging to her mommy for dear life, trying to soak up as many cuddles as she could, since she now had to share them with the new baby. Mom and Dad were happy as can be, but I could also tell they were in a bit of a haze from the whirlwind of becoming a family of 5 overnight.
I had no idea this simple encounter would affect me so much, but as I sit here writing this, I can’t stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks. Three years ago, I was the one with the newborn, 18 month old twins, and a newly 3 year old. At the time, it felt like time itself had stopped, and all I could think about were the diapers I had to change, how I was going to nurse my baby when my twin toddlers needed me to help them constantly, and how I was going to get to my three year old who was yelling from the potty because he couldn’t get his pants up on his own. It was complete and utter chaos 24 hours a day, yet right now I would do anything to go back, even if it was just a for a few minutes.
Amidst the craziness, kids grow up. They keep changing and learning and settling into their personalities. In what feels like a blink of an eye, I find myself a mom of a six year old, four year old twins, and a three year old and I’m asking myself, “How the heck did we get here?”
It feels a little awkward, actually.
I think it’s a bit of a mourning process to be honest. I finally knew what I was doing with the baby thing! I was the master of organized chaos!
And here I am in a brand new season, feeling like a new mom all over again, trying to discover my place in it all.
In some ways, life is so much easier. They can dress themselves, feed themselves, entertain themselves, and we can even take them out to dinner without experiencing epic melt downs.
But it’s a mental transition going from the one they needed every second of the day, to being the one on the sidelines watching them develop and discover who they are independently.
Leaving the baby stage is the first glimpse of ACTUALLY realizing that they won’t need us forever. That one day my babies will leave the nest altogether.
“It goes so fast.” I used to hate when older moms would tell me that. In the thick of blowouts and spit-up, the last thing I wanted to hear was to “soak it up, because it goes so fast…” Yet now that I’m on the other side, I get it.
It really does go by faster than we could ever realize…
I don’t remember the last time I put my baby to bed in a crib. One day he crawled out of it too many times to count, and it was time for a big boy bed.
I don’t remember the last time I used that nasty nose sucker. One day his nostrils were big enough for a tissue.
I don’t remember the last time he crawled. One day he was ready to walk.
I don’t remember the last time he sat in a high chair. One day, he was ready to sit in a big boy chair.
I don’t remember the last time he wore a onesie. One day, his little body outgrew the largest size.
I don’t remember the last time I spoon fed him baby food. One day he had enough teeth to chew.
I don’t remember the last time I nursed him to sleep. One day he didn’t need it anymore.
I don’t remember the last time he needed my help to climb at the park. One day he had conquered even the biggest slides.
As I continue down this journey, there will be so many more “lasts” and it makes my heart hurt just thinking about it.
But I also know there will be so many more “firsts.” Every era is a beautiful gift. Whether we have babies, preschoolers, grade schoolers, middle schoolers, high schoolers, college kids, or we’re empty nesters, motherhood will be magical. We will always have a special ever-changing role to play.
We were chosen to be mommas because our kids NEED us (even when they might disagree).
I couldn’t be more grateful to ride the emotional roller coaster of motherhood alongside all of you.