Have you ever noticed how the years you have small children in the house, it seems like it will last forever?And then, when the babies are gone, it seems like it all went so fast?
I had 5 children over 10 years. I was nursing or pregnant that whole decade. My high chair was in constant use. The “nursery” was always full. The laundry was always backed up. There were crumbs in the creases of everything. I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep a full night through from 1996-2009 because even if “the baby” did, someone else woke me up.
Even as someone who is “compulsively creative” I had plenty of pursuits I put on hold while I was mothering little ones. I was the kind of mommy who celebrated everything. The end of meconium poop? I cried. The day my kids spread cocoa and crisco all over their bedroom? I took pictures. (Okay, I cried first. *Then* I took pictures). I homeschooled for 8 years and never was the mom who said, “I wish they’d go to school and get out of my hair”. I love, love, love being a mother.
This month I’m going to be 36 in body-years. My soul is much, much older. The Love is 20 years older in body and has had the baby-making business resolved. My youngest is 5.5, the age when babyhood all but disappears. I think that chapter of my life is closing.
I kick against this. I cry about this. Sometimes I’m a little glad for this. After all, it’s enormously helpful that they can all bathe themselves. My older kids can make dinner. The laundry is caught up. I can work and write and yes, sleep through the night.
And the saggy flat breasts that gave their all, the wrinkled baggy belly that now jiggles in the twilight, the changed voices that say “Mom” instead of “Mama”…these are the reminders that I spent that decade well.
I am trying to embrace being a jolly auntie. I may soon be a godmother. Soon I’ll be able to take up doula work in earnest rather than in hobby. My friends are having babies. The Love is having grandbabies. Certainly babies will be in my days even if they aren’t in my womb any longer.This, of “the baby”, was taken last week at his preschool graduation. I am firmly planted with one foot on each side of the line. I am both grateful for their accomplishments and age process AND willing to chuck all the bonuses that brings for another hour in the rocking chair nursing. Proving yet again that I chose an appropriate name for this blog. It is going to take me more time to pick that foot up and walk forward.