There is something so final to saying I am done having children. In 2 more weeks, The Boy will be a year old and I’ll be out of the baby business. And, while that’s a good thing – I have three beautiful children that are growing and learning more about themselves and their world and one in heaven watching over us – I will never again experience the wonder that are those first flutters. Hiccups in the middle of the night, from the inside out. Heartburn so profound I’m surprised it didn’t melt the enamel off my teeth (ok, I won’t miss that at all). Writing lists of names and arguing with the stubbornest man I’ve ever met until we come to just the right one. Final.
Soon, there will be no more bottles or binkies, formula or diapers. Primary colored blocks and noise-makers will give way to trucks and trains; stuffed teddy bears will give way to Barbie dolls and hair bows. And then, even those will be gone; replaced by laptops and smart phones. The floors will get cleaner and I won’t have to cut grapes in half or clean up the disgusting half-chewed mess that is mealtime with a toddler. And, somewhere deep, I will miss it.
The soft cheeks, the smell of their hair, the sound of them as they sleep. Fighting invisible spiders on the wall (a thumbtack in the ceiling where her butterfly once hung), or tip-toeing ever so quietly by the baby’s room, or smoothing back the hair from the finally still face of the oldest one as she sleeps; the only time of day when she isn’t halfway rolling her eyes at me, “Moooom, I’m SOOOOOOOO busy….”
I worry every day that something will happen. Something bad. Those fears that surely lurk in the back of every parent’s mind; fear that is too horrible to express for fear of breathing truth to it.
I worry over scraped knees and fevers. Bad dreams and math anxiety. Too much time on the computer and not enough time at church. Balancing equipping them to face the realities of the world in which we live and protecting them from as much of it as I can until they are “ready.” Figuring out what the hell ready looks like. Because I certainly am not some days.
Parenting is tiny heartbreaks, smoothed over by overflowing joy.