I wasn’t planning on writing this post anytime soon. I have a couple I’ve been working on, writing and saving as I come up with ideas. But like most of my life, plans changed.
On June 6, 2017, I washed the last load of cloth diapers for my kids. A little over a month before my 37th birthday, and we are done.
Tonight, the 11th, Pudge fell asleep without her milkies. She asked, but this time when I told her that bottles were gone and I would be happy to get her a cup of milk, she whined, and then fell asleep. It probably helps that she was up almost 2 hours past bedtime.
I am sitting here, drowning my sorrows in hummus, tortilla chips and Dr. Pepper.
The long, sleep-deprived trek of my life that has involved babies is over. My youngest is 2. My oldest is 6. And the days of rocking a sweet-smelling infant to sleep have slipped through my fingers.
I am at turns unsettled and comfortable with this.
On one hand, both girls are sleeping better lately.
On the other hand… footed pajamas. Neither girl liked them much past when they started walking. So they have come to symbolize babyhood for me.
The Jennifer of Before Kids is not back. And honestly, she may never back as she was, so much has changed. But the Jennifer as I Am, the who I am beneath Mom, I can see her now. There is still so much I want to do, things I want to accomplish. I finished up my Bucket List, the one I wrote a week before high school graduation, before 30. In between 30 and 37, I have been Mom. And The Mrs. There hasn’t been much time for a new Bucket List, I’ve been too busy washing bottles and diapers, wiping faces and butts, rocking babies, folding clothes, pumping gas, carrying children.
To go back to those times of babies will be to give up what little Me I have rewritten. There is so much story still left to write, so many pictures to take and songs to learn, and tattoos to get. There is so much to do still.
They were my babies. Long before they started claiming their independence, long before they started snipping apron strings, they were babies. They were my fiercely guarded lion cubs. They were mine. And I will have to give them up, to their own lives, far sooner than I realized.
I would stay longer in the Land of Babies, if I could. I would linger here, with tiny clothes, tiny fingers to curl around mine, and a tiny head propped on my shoulder. But the girls will not let me. They didn’t linger here any longer than they needed to, and now they are pulling me through their childhood.
We have tea parties to play, and dolls to dress up, sidewalk chalk to color with, and bubbles to blow. We have toes to paint, and lip gloss to use up. We have childhood to get to.
While I will throw myself into their childhood, just like I did their baby years… I may stop to look back. A few times.