While in Texas last week I got to spend some time with Connie (the pastor’s wife at the church where we did ministry for many years). She is the same age as my mom and always has so much valuable wisdom to impart. When talking about motherhood Connie reminisced about her only daughter graduating from High School and leaving for college. This was close to 15 years ago when she was about to become an empty nester and her daughter asked her Are you going to miss this?
Yes. I am going to miss you, but I have always missed every stage that you have gone through. I missed having a little baby around, I missed the toddler stage, and when you turned 16 and no longer needed me to drive you around I missed that. But then I also always looked forward to the next stage. I get to watch you grow and discover new things.
That’s it. That’s what I have had to remind myself over and over. It’s hard knowing that aside from whatever could happen with potentially adopting a chid we are done having children. Baby Elle is the last time I will experience so many of these things and it’s all happening so fast! I’ve been a bit of an emotional wreck over it.
I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes and I’ll admit I have done that when I have read lengthy status updates about someones first baby turning one and how the world is ending because their baby is “all grown up”. Then I know plenty of other people that are just shy of detesting babies/toddlers and toast cheerfully to each passage toward independence.
I don’t do change quite so well.
Ten years ago I was so reluctant to have children. I never wanted to disrupt the connection between my husband and I or our childless freedom. I could hardly fathom life tied down with babies. Now that J and I have children of our own our relationship has definitely changed, but it’s become so much deeper and stronger. We both wish we would have started our family sooner!
Then when I had Z my world changed forever as I stepped into the role of mom. I didn’t want to upset that relationship either. I don’t know how many mothers I have talked to who have all said the same thing- I don’t know how I could ever love another child as much as I love this one. Then they had the next child and the love only grew. I do have a soft spot for those first two years of motherhood when it was just Z and I, but there is nothing like getting to watch siblings interact and bond with one another. You not only get to love more children, but you get this amazing gift of watching them bond and love each other. It’s amazing!
Every stage so far has had it’s pros in cons. You trade in sleepless nights for power struggle days cushioned by adorable phrases of overwhelming cuteness. Then chubby little faces turn into grins with missing teeth. Before you know it you begin to connect on a deeper level and have conversations about history, and ride bikes together, or play board games where you are actually challenged. That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far, but I see a pattern. It keeps getting better. I wouldn’t trade any of it.
I’m sure this stage of parenting is just like the other stages that I was reluctant to embark upon. If I had only known all the joy and fulfillment that was coming I might not have been so hesitant. I know there are parts of this season of life that I will miss, isn’t that always the case? But for now I am just soaking it all up. Living in this moment that is a gift from God and knowing that there are so many more new and wonderful memories that await.
Of course I sound all sentimental and peaceful now, but we’ll see how I feel in 15 years. Shoot, with the way my emotions swing you can ask me how I feel tomorrow. For now, I can handle the bitter sweet fact that my babies will not stay babies forever.