I know it’s hard to put away those newborn jammies. It’s only been a month. How could she grow so much in such a short time? The last 4 weeks of endless nursing sessions and diaper changes and no sleep made the time fly by. It was so hazy. It was so hard.
You found yourself wanting the hours to pass quicker.
“Newborns are so needy,” you whisper to yourself in the haze of the night.
You just want a moment to yourself.
And now as you bring that tiny pink sleeper to your nose and smell in your little girl’s sweet smell you wonder, “Did you wish it all away? Did you enjoy the baby snuggles?”
I know you’re thrilled to finally be out of the diaper stage. You’re saving so much money now that they can go on their own. No more messes and late night changes. It’s a milestone you’re excited to reach.
But as she runs to you after another successful potty session, you find yourself a bit weepy. How did your baby girl grow so fast? She’s so independent now. A fast-moving toddler who seems to need you less and her favorite cartoon more. Wasn’t she just a baby?
School days are upon us. You helped her pick the perfect backpack. She can tie her own shoes and even attempts to brush her hair. What a beautiful young lady she is becoming. It’s a new stage for her, for you too. She’ll spend her mornings and afternoons learning and growing and you’ll spend your days figuring out a new routine.
What will fill your time now that she is in school? You longed for this day since she was a baby. Time for yourself and your own passions. Of course, you’re excited for this new adventure and for her new adventure, too.
But in the silence of the morning, the one that used to be filled with cartoons and silly laughs, you wonder if she’ll think about you during school. You wonder if she’ll need you as much as you need her.
You see her out of the corner of your eye. She’s carrying that sweet-smelling bubble bath she received as a Christmas present from Santa. You hear the water running and the door close.
When did she start taking a shower without you asking? When was the last time you helped wash her little body?
You can’t remember.
You love this age of in-between, where your 8-year-old is finding herself but still needs to spend time with mom. She still asks to play games and to be tucked in at night. She still wants your help, but loves to discover things on her own, too.
But sometimes at night, when she wants to tell you yet another story or read yet another book, you get frustrated. You know she is delaying bedtime and you so badly long for that bath and glass of wine.
“Go to bed,” you tell her.
As you run your own bath and sink into the bubbles, your mind wonders, “Am I spending enough time with her?” You know she needs you right now, and you need her too. You make a promise to yourself to be more patient with those late-night stories.
You’ve been so frustrated with her mood swings lately. Age 17 is so hard and you know it, because you were her age once too. “What goes around comes around,” they say.
Boy is that true.
When she broke curfew (for the second time) you knew it was time for a serious grounding.
“You can’t tell me what to do,” she yells at the top of the stars. “I don’t need you!”
You close your eyes, take a deep breath, ask God for patience and long for the days when she was tiny.
It’s the first day of college. You’ve prepared your heart for 18 years, and you think you’re ready to let her fly. You know she’s ready.
“You can let go now, Mom” she smiles as you hug her tight in the small dorm apartment.
You turn away quickly so she doesn’t see your tears.
“Goodbye,” you holler as you walk down the hall – hand in hand with her daddy.
As you drive away from your girl and towards a new life, you turn to your husband with tears in your eyes and whisper, “She doesn’t need us anymore.”
Your girl is now a grown woman. She’s found the love of her life and she’s living her own dreams in a city far from you. She thought about living closer, but you encouraged her to travel.
“Live your dreams,” you always said. “Promise me you’ll take big adventures.”
She did just that.
But her biggest adventure has just begun.
In the quiet of that hospital room, your daughter’s husband of 5 years, hands the baby over to the new mama and asks, “Do you need anything?”
She looks at him with a tear in her eye and says, “Yes. I need my mom. Please hand me my phone so I can hear her voice.”
Don’t worry, sweet Mama. Through each new stage, your babies will need you just as much as you need them.