A New Chapter
Yesterday was the last day of 2016 and one that marked a milestone for our family. We decided to take the crib down for our youngest and have her sleep in a junior bed, like a big kid. You see I have been avoiding this for some time now. My baby is 3.5 years old, and while my other three children were in a big bed by the age of 2, I just couldn’t do it for this last one - my last child, who I will witness do all her “firsts” for the last time. Plus this fourth child of mine has a mind of her own and will go on many adventures in life. It has served her and our family well to keep her in a crib for this long.
As the bittersweet moment of watching my husband take down the siding of the crib happened yesterday, the feelings of what I thought were going to be hard as I reminisced on this important “last” moment, were actually not hard at all. I actually felt relieved and hopeful. This moment signified so much for me. This moment represented a decade of diaper changes, sleep deprivation, having babies, and watching toddlers walk. This past decade was all about our family growing from the moment we met our first daughter in the summer of 2006 to this moment now at the end of 2016 when we took down the crib for our second daughter and last child.
There are so many things that I will miss from this past decade such as having a baby around and witnessing all the firsts, feeling a baby kick inside of me, nursing a baby late at night, and having little feet stumbling around the house. But there are lots of things I will not miss about this past decade. I will not miss the sleep deprivation, the loneliness that comes with sitting in a house all by myself with spit-up on my shoulder and poopy diapers overflowing the garbage. I will not miss the awkwardness of trying to find good friends who understand the importance of a nap schedule and the necessity of having a wardrobe with clothes for my pre, during, and post baby body phases. Let’s be honest, nursing bras are very comfortable even when you’re done nursing.
The past decade has taught me so much but what I’m most thankful for is the different woman I am transitioning into this next chapter of life. I have a few good friends, I look forward to days when I can be at home all day hanging out with my kiddos, and I do more reflection and quiet time now then I was able to do those past ten years. The thing about it is that I would not be able to turn this page into a new journey for my family if I had not put in the time and effort the past ten years. During those long days, I felt like I was drowning and couldn’t get ahead and when you have little ones, you won’t ever “get ahead.” Survival is your main goal for most days and that is good enough. If you are in those years, I am not here to tell you that it goes by quickly because who wants to hear another person say that? Instead, I’m hear to tell you that you are building the foundation for your family so that one day when the diapers are gone, and your sleep is restored, you look at your kids’ faces with such gratitude that you had to go through some of those times to really see the precious gift(s) that God has given you and to take those precious moments to help foster their dreams and watch them blossom.
I will definitely still miss having a baby around and am pretty sure my ovaries will still dance a little bit every time I hold a newborn, but it’s not a feeling of longing for something more. It’s a contentment with what I already have. We, as mothers and fathers, get to wake up each day and have a chance to pour into our children and help watch them blossom into something great.
As I watched my little girl climb into her big girl bed last night, I was so thankful for the time I was able to see her grow into this precious three year old, and I am so excited to see how she will grow and become her own person. I look forward to these next ten years and new chapter for our family. As I think ahead, this next decade has a lot in store for us. Kids will be changing, driving, dating, and possibly leaving and I will be getting older as well. Each new season has it’s challenges but also its beauty. Today I choose to see the beauty and am hopeful for things to come.