My baby, who will always be my baby, turned two a few months ago. She’s not actually a baby. And I’m not the least bit sad.
I’ve started talking about moving her from her crib into a twin bed. I’m not sad.
Pictures of her as a squishy little peanut pop up in my memories on social media and iPhoto. I smile, remembering when she was my barnacle, seemingly always attached to me. She’s become her own little person, pushing me away when I pick her up from daycare. And still, I’m not sad.
This last baby changed my outlook on mothering. I used to post crying emojis and write captions wishing for time to slow down with my first two kids. I wanted them to stay little. I wanted to bottle their babyhood forever. I cried sad tears when they turned one.
When my last baby turned one, I thought I’d fall apart. I thought I would cry as much as I had with her older siblings, and then some more. Babyhood in my house would be forever gone. But the few tears I cried were of joy. Such incredible joy. I had gained perspective.
There is nothing sad about my children growing up. There is only beauty. Beauty in watching and learning who these humans that I brought into this world are growing into as people. As individuals with their own distinct personalities and dreams and preferences and thoughts.
“Don’t blink” and “the days are long, but the years are short” are platitudes I now consciously dismiss. I blink alongside my children, stopping myself from measuring the passage of time. I have moved away from harping on “how fast it all goes” in favor of focusing on all the changes that I witness daily.
My last baby, who turned two a few months ago, is speaking in full sentences. She tells me what she wants, when she wants it. She tells me about her day with her little friends and her teachers, and we look out the window and admire the colors painting the sky as the sun sets and the moon follows us home. She understands cause and effect. She says, “Bless you,” after I sneeze and “Love you Mommy” every morning and night.
She is growing in every moment, and I’m not sad.
My older babies understand and converse about more complex topics. They are living through a global pandemic and processing it with their very different natures. We are nearing the end of the fifth book of Harry Potter. They are asking questions and making connections, giving me real lessons in child development and psychology, two courses I never took in college.
They are growing in every moment, and I’m not sad.