I cleaned out the boys’ closet the other day, shuffling clothes that were too small for Theo into Oliver’s dresser, and moving clothes that were too small for Oliver into storage containers.
As I packed things away, the thought came to mind that I should probably find someone to pass the clothes on to.
My next thought, though, wasn’t so much of a thought, as it was a pang.
Bea is 13 months now. She started crawling on hands and knees Christmas morning, just as Mike predicted she would. With crawling, she has suddenly turned the corner from baby to one year old.
I adore one year olds.
They are still small and squishy and retain some of their adorable babyness while starting to gain some independence. They crawl and feed themselves and start to become more playful.
Bea’s personality shines a little brighter each day. She is goofy and sweet and does this little thing where she hunches her shoulder up as she tilts her ear down and the effect is about as charming and sweet as you can imagine. She plays hard with her brothers and wants to be right in the middle of the action. She eats like a champ, double fisting food into her mouth with so much gusto that it impresses everyone who witnesses it. Now that she is mobile, she is slowly starting to attempt to pull herself up. She listens for her daddy, and quickly moves to be near him. She chats and sings and is just the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen.
About a month ago, she self-weaned from breastfeeding. I kept offering her chances to nurse but she simply had no interest in it. We continue our morning ritual, though, where I bring her into bed with me when she first starts to fuss. We will lie there in the early morning light, belly to belly, as she nurses and I silently send up a prayer of gratitude that this phase has survived another day.
It’s all so fleeting.
In many ways, in these early days, the fleeting nature of childhood is almost a relief. The boys were difficult babies, and I always felt like the next stage came at just the right time when I couldn’t take the former stage a minute longer.
But with Beatrice, not only has she been the loveliest of babies, there has also been this aching part of me that wonders, will she be our last?
With both Oliver and Beatrice, there came a moment when I felt “ready” to have more. If the timeline we’ve kept to thus far means anything, then pregnancy would be right around the corner for me if we wanted to continue as before.
For the first time since becoming a mom, I desperately don’t want to be pregnant. The idea of being pregnant just sounds awfully depressing. And while my first two all natural labors and deliveries were empowering, I have this distinct memory in my labor with Bea where I thought three unmedicated births was quite enough, thank you very much.
As I put away little boy clothes without another little boy to put them on, and as I watch my little baby become not such a little baby anymore, I feel that old familiar ache. I feel as though we aren’t done. We can’t be done. I can’t imagine not raising babies. I can’t imagine this phase of life being over. I can’t imagine what life would be like without a soft little someone to hold and nurse and rock and love.
A family of five is wonderful, but a family of six somehow just feels right.
This, of course, is all unchartered territory. Whether we eventually go on to have more children or ultimately decide to close this chapter of our lives, it’s all new. It’s all unknown.
I’ve been thinking a lot about 2017. What it will bring. What it won’t. What it will mean for me and for my family. What it won’t.
What are the things I should pursue, and in what areas should I simply rest?
I am a momma to three beautiful babies. This I know. For today, I choose to rest in the knowledge that I don’t have to figure anything else out right now. There is nothing to pursue in motherhood, other than being here now. I can’t imagine what is next, and maybe that is for a reason. Sometimes imagining leads to expecting, which is rather dangerous for this girl.
So I enter 2017 without expectations, full of hope, ready to rest.
This is my motherhood. This is my now.