Saturday, January 11, 2014

my days are numbered

our "someday..." posts have resonated with moms everywhere. you name a mom who doesn't dream of what life will be like "someday," and i can pretty much guarantee that we are not friends. parenting is hard. anyone who tells you differently is lying. it's exhausting. it is filled with moments when you want to shake your fists at someone and scream, "why?" it is the hardest thing you will ever do and there are days when i dream that i can see a light at the end of this very long parenting tunnel.

with five kids, that tunnel has gotten longer and longer. we are, however, for the first time ever, at a place where we have finally said, "we are done having kids." it was a long time coming and the truth is, i am grateful to be at a place where i can say that i am happy with five. i don't feel like something is missing. i'm content with what i have. that, too, has been a long time coming and i am thankful to finally feel that way.

now, for the first time in my life, i am on the other side of babydom. i will never again be pregnant. i won't have to go through nursing again. my body, such as it is, is officially my own again and i am relishing some of the great things that come from saying goodbye to infants and toddlers. i am nearing the end of an 11 year relationship with diaper changing. i no longer have to scrub out baby bottles. the poor, rickety crib is holding on for a couple of remaining months until we move on to the final "big-boy bed." the bib drawer will soon be a thing of the past. huge infant paraphernalia is slowly being consigned or given away. our house is turning into a big kid house. i almost don't know what to do with myself.

part of the transition is liberating. my grocery budget alone jumps with each new stage. no formula to buy? money for other things! no diapers to buy? how about a starbucks? that poopy diaper bucket just outside our garage door? that thing will soon be a thing of the past! some things are truly fantastic.

there are other moments when the loss of it all makes me feel like i cannot catch my breath. my fifth born is going through a bit of separation anxiety. lately he has cried every night when i put him to bed. with my first ones, i would have let them cry it out. with my last one, i go back in there every night and hold and rock my last baby. i am all too aware what happens next. i have seen the transition that happens when friends become cooler than parents. i have seen the look of embarrassment when i walk into my fifth grader's classroom. i have seen big hair bows give way to pony tails. i have seen tutu's and tiaras stuffed into the bottoms of drawers and thomas trains left pushed into the back of closets. i have watched as hugs and kisses have become less frequent and information about their days has to be pried from them.

don't get me wrong. i am grateful for the next stages as well. i love seeing the people my kids are becoming. i love the big belly laughs around the dinner table when we all get the same joke and can laugh in unison. i love spending bits of my day with them and seeing the world through the eyes of my growing children. still, they don't quite fit in my lap like they once did. they won't lay their heads on my shoulder and let me rock them to sleep. those days are quickly fading, even for number five. and so, my days are numbered. i once heard that with children, the days are long but the years are short. this has become painfully and wonderfully true, simultaneously. so, i'm determined to love the new stage we are entering. still, if my toddler wants to be rocked to sleep, i won't miss a night of it. when there is an expiration date, the moments and the memories become that much sweeter. i will hold onto them for as long as i can.

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