It was a sweltering 90 degrees in South Carolina on the day this photo was taken. My three-year-old Ezra pulled on my skirt, saying, “Carry me, mama. Carry me.” He’s a solid 30 lbs., and with my hysterectomy just a few months prior, I knew I wouldn’t be able to carry him long. I said, “alright, buddy, just for a few minutes.”
As we walked, I held him tight, thinking, this is likely one of the last vacations I will be able to carry him for this long.
I’ve been doing that a lot – thinking about the last times of the “baby years.” Ezra is our third and final child. At Christmas Eve service eight months ago, I remember thinking, this might be the last candlelight service I hold one of my babies.
We bought bunk beds this summer. As my husband took apart the crib to donate to a family who needed one, I cried.
I cried a lot.
For several days.
After 10 years with a crib, it seemed strange to see my children’s bedroom without one in it. Thousands of night spent patting backs and finding pacis along its rails. Now, that crib is in another bedroom, in another house, with another mama leaning over its side.
The other day, I found a bottle nipple in my kitchen drawer, tucked amidst measuring cups and whisks. Its been many months since Ezra had a bottle, but I didn’t throw it away. I couldn’t.
Motherhood has made me acutely aware of life’s extraordinary ordinary moments. I don’t take for granted the snuggles, sweaty heads after a romp outside, or the little voices of my kids. I often sense the fleeting nature of childhood – maybe because I know my own story of going to college, then picking up and moving from Wisconsin to Nashville or maybe because so many have said to me, “the days are long, but the years are short.”
When you are in the midst of it, you know they are right, but you also just want to sleep eight hours straight. Now, I wake up in the night and sometimes walk in my kids rooms to watch them sleep, almost wishing they would cry out and want me to hold them.
My children are 10, 7 and 3 and a half. Yes, they are still little. But they are growing fast and I feel like my heart is trying to store all the moments and feelings. For the tide is changing and a new season is coming.
Have you felt this way in motherhood? Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments.