Say hello to the amazing Audrey - mama behind one of my favorite etsy shops Kaboogie... and one woman I look up to in the mama/parenting/crunchy world. When in doubt, ask her... she has all the answers, and if she doesn't she will happy take the time to help you find the answers along the way.
"I didn't even want kids. Seriously. I was going to be "The Career Woman."
Well guess what? Six kids and 25 years later, my mind has finally wrapped itself around the fact that there are no-more-babies. I'm 48 years old, and I won't ever lay in my bed in the early dawn hours staring at a snuggly, warm little person who's whole world is me.
No more counting little toes. No more full bellies, drunk full of momma's milk. No more snorty giggles over silly momma noises. No more coos at my baby massages. No more adorable little baby outfits. No more massive rush of endorphins after a 24 hour back labor that carries you through the next week. No more slobbery baby kisses.
My youngest is 7, but it took me until he was about 4 or 5 to stop seeing "baby" and see the young boy he had become. Outings were easier. Bedtime was easier. Explanations were easier. Everything was easier. Everything, that is, except accepting the new phase of my life.
I am blessed to have crafted a life where I can be with my kids all day. As they've grown, I've reaped the blessings (and sometimes the incalcuable pain) of their independence, in small increments. I no longer have to wonder why it's so quiet up there, what are they getting into? I no longer have to stare out the window while they play outside, or hold my breath while they climb things. I have freedoms I haven't had in many years.
Now I have a new set of worries. Will they be ok home alone? Are they safe out there in the world? Will they become responsible on their own? Will they resent me for things I did when I had no idea what I was doing sometimes during the exhausted, sleep deprived years? DID I DO ALL OF THE THINGS RIGHT?
Ask any honest mom, and she'll tell you the God's-honest-truth. You're going to screw up. Your kids will, at some time, look down their noses and assure themselves that they will not make the mistakes you made. Maybe they'll be right. Maybe they won't. They'll make whole new mistakes.
They'll also be doing some mundane thing someday, and go about their business in the same way you did, maybe not even realizing that they learned some awesome thing they're doing from you. Maybe all the advice they scoffed at in their infinite 16 year old wisdom will be of some use someday.
As sad as I get sometimes when I miss the baby years, let me tell you what kind of joy is mine to relish at this point. Seeing the last of them learn to read. Proms, driving lessons, licenses, amazing growth in the things they love to do, hilarious senses of humor. Borrowing clothes from my girls. Watching my oldest work out his life as it unfolds, not afraid to get out there in the real world. Working alongside my girls tending animals. Seeing them be kind to each other when no one's watching. Learning along with them as we homeschool for the 16th year. Relaxing about pretty much everything, because they seem to have it covered. Concerts that don't include cartoon characters. Movies that aren't animated. Philosophical, political, and faith discussions that challenge me in ways I never saw coming.
Because I've grown with them, I can gladly say goodbye to the stressed-out freakazoid I sometimes was. I don't miss that at all. Moms learn as they go, just like kids. I like the me of today, I'm much more relaxed. I haven't broken anyone. I'm proud of each of them, not for accomplishments, but for their potential to craft the life they want. Or just go be the people God meant them to be. Either way, fine by me. As long as they do it with all their might.
So it seems we've come full circle. The baby years are tucked away in a hastily crafted box of memories. I'm not lamenting anymore. I'm looking forward to doing things with them that I can only do with older kids, and looming over the horizon, is a whole 'nother phase that I'll cherish in a much different way.