I’m writing this the first day of my “new normal” so I am fully aware my perspective may be swayed by the newness, raw feelings, and heightened emotions. I think that’s the best time to write this sort of thing, though. When you haven’t yet processed it all and have all this unknown swirling around. It’s at your most vulnerable, the real stuff comes out.
This is the first day all my kids are in school. The first day in seven years there is no baby to tend to. The first time I’m in my home that I tidied this morning, and it’s still tidy. The first time I’ve heard how loud the quiet is. I keep feeling like I am forgetting something. Something is not taken care of. I am so used to being constantly interrupted; thinking my own thoughts without distraction is both amazing and odd.
I don’t have babies anymore. I saw the signs as I gave away the toys and crib blankets. As I packed the 24 month clothes away. As I began to sleep through the night and walked down the baby aisle of the store less and less. Each time the realization caused a lump in my throat, but I felt there was still time. Still time before they got REALLY big. But now they are in school. Ava is in second grade and Sophie is in kindergarten, while Isaiah is starting Pre-K3 today.
For me, this day seals the deal.
It’s done. Over seven years in the overwhelming, amazing, exhausting, beautiful phase that is raising babies. It has come to an end. Today is graduation day for me. From new, nervous mom, to more confident, and aware mother. This is phase two in mommyhood. From babies to big kids.
Today I’m missing the babies. The first smiles and laughs. The sound of a diapered bottom as it wobbles past me in the kitchen. The slaps of chubby feet on the tile floor, and the drooly -grinned screeches as I chase them around the house.
But these big kids who took their place are REALLY cool. Toothless grins have now been replaced with a new set off toothless grins. This one comes with a super cute lisp and gangly limbs attached. There are hilarious senses of humor and sparkling personalities. There are sweet and funny observations and bright eyes ready to learn. And the hugs. Big kid hugs are awesome. The ones that are given freely are precious. They are less frequent than babies, but fuller. Filled with bigger kid love.
As I take off the old worn shoes I used to walk through the baby journey and look behind me- there are tears and a big smile. I can’t believe I made it. That was the longest walk of my life. That was the rockiest, the most I have fallen and gotten back up. I have bruises and scratches I got along the way. There are parts where I ran and parts where I sat down and wanted to give up. But I finally made it across the finish line.
And I am not oblivious as to how.
There’s my mom, family and friends- all who poured in so much insight, wisdom and love. And then of course there is Mike. Mike is an amazing husband, but to watch him as a father fills me with a new found love for him. Our babies brought out the best in him. And he works so hard for us. So while he and everyone else was and is an amazing support, most days I had a houseful of babies to myself.
This whole time I had Someone encouraging me, guiding me, convicting me, energizing me, and giving me rest. Day in and day out.
The Lord raised these babies. Through His guidance, protection and wisdom have they become who they are. My eyes well up when I think about how grateful I am for His presence in our home. I would not have been able to do it without Him. And looking back on how much He carried me through the season of babies, I have a greater love and trust in Him as I start this new chapter.
Now I slip on a new pair of shoes to walk the path with big kids. These shoes are shiny and look nice. The path looks equal parts exhilarating and frightening. I can see big mountains ahead I will have to climb.
So today I take a deep breath and with my heart pounding and full of hope, I take my first step.
“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31