Our beautiful daughter just turned five. Our eldest is six. Even though it seems only a year or two ago that we first became parents, it has been six years. And, because we have two children, those hard, early years of sleepless nights, nappies, spit-up, croup, crying, tantrums – gone.
We have no babies, or toddlers, or preschoolers in the house.
It truly is hard to believe. I remember thinking that, with a newborn in my arms, the feeling of being dead tired would last forever… I couldn’t imagine feeling normal. I couldn’t imagine going to bed past nine o’clock and sleeping all the way through. Staying up to 10.30pm, enjoying a hobby, sleeping well, and rising just before eight? Couldn’t even contemplate it.
Yet, here we are. We are officially out of ‘the little years’.
The past six months my baby-radar has been going ballistic. Friends have been having number three. I’ve taken on running the Creche at church on Sundays. Babies have been just everywhere.
And I’ve been looking at our beautiful daughter, reaching five, intelligent and a light that fills a room, no longer the cuddly, demanding baby from a few years ago. And our son, tall and funny and boisterous, seeming older than his six years.
Everything in me has been: I want more!
But, unfortunately, having more babies just isn’t a safe option for us. It grieves us, but we have accepted it for awhile now. Sometimes though, when that deep maternal need to give life, to nuture, and to love arises – it can feel hard. Not only do I grieve not having any more children, but now that Rosalie is five, I grieve just all the things that come with those little years.
Yes, I haven’t forgotten how hard it was. I know too well. And it’s not like we don’t have hard times now, either. I’m still deep in character training, showing their hearts and hands how to love others more than themselves. And, we’ve thrown homeschooling into the mix.
But things are different now. Not a breeze, at all. I think, there is just more breathing space. Less demanding physically, but still emotionally whole-hearted.
I don’t have any sage advice for those still in the trenches. But I do have one encouragement: it does get easier. I promise.
Increment, by increment, little pockets of margin appear in your life again. Sleep comes, bottoms don’t need to be wiped, water can be fetched without me, even seatbelts can be buckled in without my help. Tantrums, heart issues, and all those things abound. But, with more breathing space, there is more of an ability to step back and think about things, rather than react. Life is less of survival.
So, as I grieve chubby toes and round eyes looking up as a baby is fed, I also rejoice in the new stage we are in. There are now little people that I spend my days with. Little people with thoughts, opinions, ideas, and legitimate concerns. And that is so wonderful.
Instead of days of baby talk, we now have meaningful conversation. Instead of board books, it’s Harry Potter or Paddington. There are jokes, we hold hands on our walks, lots of games of UNO. Our days are full and fun, together. There is slightly more equal footing.
Anyway, these are just some thoughts that have been swirling in my head of late. Nothing ground-breaking for motherhood. But, a mother’s heart all the same.
I hope it is encouraging to one mother, out there, who was like me – wondering where her life had gone. I promise you though, your life hasn’t gone. Just a new one has been made and, fully and completely, a better life than before. You just need to embrace it and not run away from the hard things.