So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

I have five sons. Humorous. Sticky. Smelly. Smiling. Joyful. I love them. They refine me and give me a breadth and depth of life I don’t have the words for. And when I’m feeling burdened by them or put out in some way because of the weight of their rearing I’m set right. Whether it’s by a random stranger in Costco walking over to simply say, “You are so blessed,” or a sincere kiss and “I love you, Mom” at bedtime, or some other sort of subtle or not-so-subtle wake-up call.

All five of these boys have slept in the same crib at one point or another over the last eight years. They’ve lain snugly swaddled in it, grown from infant to toddler in it. They have chewed on it, thrown toys at it, drawn on it, cried about stuffy noses in it and been watched by a heart-filled mother in it. 

This crib has been set up and taken down multiple times in multiple places. It has been loaded and unloaded from multiple trucks and trailers and traveled over 3,097 miles. 

Where did it come from? 

What’s its story?

Well, like a lot of young new parents still making their way in life, we bought it used. I combed Craig’s List and the KSL Classifieds and made it my mission to get us the perfect fit. And then I found it. Cherry Wood. Matching dresser. Excellent condition. But I wanted a lower price because who doesn’t love the thrill of being able to show off something second-hand and say, “And GUESS how much I got it for?” So I asked the seller if she’d lower it. Haggling is pretty normal on those sites and I was greedily fishing for a steal of a deal.

The seller lowered it a bit and then drew her limit, stating that it was in perfect condition and hadn’t even been used. Not an absolute steal, but still too good to pass up. My mother-in-law watched my baby while I took our car down to pick it up. 

New and developing area. Cute cul-de-sac. A rock near the front door catches my eye. “In memory of Aiden.” As I’m ringing the doorbell the truth is slowly sinking in, right into my bones. “Never been used.” That’s what she had said.

A broad man with dark hair answers the door and lets me into the entryway, explaining that he and his brother are just about to bring the crib downstairs, already taken apart. I stand and wait and look at the pictures on the wall of the couple holding an infant boy and I know they hold more meaning to this couple than typical newborn pictures. Did they know what was coming when those pictures were taken? Or did gravity shift much more suddenly?

Nobody says anything about it, but I can feel the grief through the kindness of this man who is loading a baby’s crib that was never slept in into my car. There’s emotion in the air and it’s palpable, but never spoken. After all, I’m just a stranger buying a “used” crib.

Not everything fits in my trunk, so we agree that I’ll come back for the rest. As I’m getting into my car I think I see a woman walk away from a window on the second floor and I suddenly know what it feels like to be driving away with someone else’s dreams in the back of my car. And I had haggled with her.

I have no idea how the couple came to find themselves wading through such grief, but I couldn’t go back with nothing to give. I paid in full and left a note for her in the mailbox. She sold me her dream and I left her a card.

Fast forward 7 1/2 years and I’m expecting my fifth baby boy. “I just have to know, is it a girl?!” I hear this kind of phrase from strangers almost every time I show up for life with my basketball-sized belly and my whole crew. We have a humorous exchange of words and I go about my shopping, my toddler chasing and my “No wrestling in the aisles!” daily grind moments. But deep down, I feel that gentle tug on my heart and know that every boy is precious.

My husband and I can’t decide on a name. I mean, we’ve already used four! How long are your name lists? In the meantime I think on our crib. How it’s still here after four children and multiple moves. How I chose to keep it over another, fancier crib when downsizing after our twins. How I’ll keep it no matter how scratched it gets because I love it. It has served as my reminder over the years to be just a little bit more grateful because it no longer falls under the category of “never been used”.

Aiden. How about Aiden?

Our crib is far from ordinary in my eyes. It tells the story of two mothers, six boys, and two Aidens.

I never saw that family again and chances are I never will, but I wish they knew that their baby has been remembered by me, a total stranger, these last eight years. And that my Aiden has been laid in their Aiden’s crib. It has always been Aiden’s crib to me.

You may also like:

This is Grief

The Baby I Never Got To Hold

Sarah Porter

I'm Sarah. Having spent over a decade of my life as a ballerina, I find a lot of humor in being the mother of five humorous, dog-piling, energetic boys. None of them came with manuals (darn it) but I've come to deeply appreciate the learning process of parenthood. Writing things out helps me get down to the bones of this path that I'm on, brings me perspective, and spits me out ever so slightly more refined. Thanks for reading!

Trying To Conceive Almost Ruined Our Marriage

In: Baby, Marriage, Motherhood
Man and woman back to back on bed

“I know it’s not true, but I feel like you don’t love me anymore.” My husband’s words caused me to freeze in my tracks. I had been on my way out the door, but as soon as those words were uttered, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. The words hung in the air, and I held my breath, mind racing. What could I possibly say to that? I slowly turned around, silently waiting for my husband to continue. Which he did. “I feel like you don’t want to have sex with me anymore.” I cringed internally. Clearly, I wasn’t the...

Keep Reading

Donating Breastmilk Helped My Heart Heal

In: Baby, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman with packaged breastmilk, color photo

Dear grieving mama, You know when you lose a baby everything changes, but your body moves forward like nothing happened. It carried that tiny baby long enough to trigger a complicated hormonal cocktail that causes your milk to come in so that little life can continue to grow outside you. But your baby is separated from you in a way nature never intended. There will be no baby snuggles. There won’t be a sleepy, smiley, milk-drunk face looking up at you. But your body doesn’t know that, so your breasts swell and keep swelling with milk that has nowhere to...

Keep Reading

Colic Can Make a Good Mom Feel Like a Failure

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding crying baby

“Let me try.” A stranger. A complete stranger. I allowed a stranger to hold you. It has been weeks, and you’re still crying every evening around the same time for the same amount of time. The doctor told me it’s just colic and that it’ll pass, but his nonchalant reaction is in utter opposition to how I feel, to how you obviously feel. Colic is devastating. And no matter how many times people tell you the baby is OK . . . when you watch your baby cry that much, you know they can’t be. I tried to take you...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Will Challenge Every Inch of You—but You Are Strong

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mom holding new baby

Dear momma, Although it may not feel like it now, you will become stronger each and every day. Your feelings of hopelessness and sadness will be a distant memory. I promise you will get better, and you will be happy again. It is OK that you don’t know anything, your baby will forgive you. Your feelings of guilt have no merit. You will question everything. Keep asking those questions but trust your gut too. It will lead you in the right direction.  You are doing enough. You are enough.  RELATED: Dear Mom, Your Best Is Enough Do not wish the...

Keep Reading

Going from One to Two Kids Was So Much Harder than I Expected

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Family of four

I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  And boy, DID. I. NOT. KNOW.  But, I really thought I did!  I really thought that waiting until our daughter was three before adding another child would make the transition easy. She will be more independent then, I reasoned. Also, fully potty-trained (HA!), enrolled in school, and interested in some things besides just Mommy. Plus, I’ve done this newborn thing before! How hard could it be? Bless that naive spirit. Because those optimistic expectations sure didn’t match my reality. I was firmly set on breastfeeding. So after our second baby came home, the nightly wakings...

Keep Reading

Just Wait Until You Realize Every Hard Moment Is Worth It

In: Baby, Motherhood
Woman kissing baby

Every new parent has heard it before—all those “just wait until . . .” comments. Just wait until you have to wake up every two hours, then you’ll really know what it means to be tired.  Just wait until your baby cries like mad, then you’ll really know what patience is.  You just wait until you find out what it truly means to be busy, then you’ll laugh at what you used to think of as busy days.  But you know what I say? Yes, the newborn stage can be difficult, but oh, how those precious moments wipe the difficultness away.  See,...

Keep Reading

I Would Relive Every Moment of Sorrow Just To Hold You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, black-and-white photo

As I sat there rocking my child to sleep, I caught my mind wandering to the past. Not my recent past but my before . . . Before my son was born. Before my stressful pregnancy. Before my positive pregnancy test. Before . . . when I was praying every day for a miracle—six years back. Infertility is a messy journey that few (and many at the same time) are chosen to take. It’s lonely and heartbreaking and dark and will make you hate yourself at times. You feel helplessness and anger and despair. RELATED: This is Infertility Your relationships...

Keep Reading

When a Rainbow Baby Meets Mama

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
newborn baby on mother's chest

This week, one year ago, was one of the most difficult weeks of my life. Fast forward to exactly one year later, and here I am cuddling you, my sweet boy. I never truly understood what “rainbow baby” was all about, but I get it now. Sure, I knew what it meant and what it represented. I had read the articles and heard the stories. I had seen the meaningful images and understood the definition. But I never truly and deeply knew what happens when a rainbow baby meets their mama . . . until you. When a rainbow baby...

Keep Reading

How Do You Know it’s Really the Last Baby?

In: Baby, Motherhood
Selfie of pregnant woman standing next to child, color photo

I love being pregnant. I love everything about it. I am, however, one of the lucky ones who has been blessed with stress-free pregnancies. I get the typical morning sickness in the first trimester and the utter exhaustion in the third trimester, but other than that, it’s just pure enjoyment. I know not everyone has that experience, some have horrific pregnancies, but for me they have all been relatively easy. Trust me, I do know how fortunate I am. I’m currently pregnant with my fourth child. The little man is due this summer. From the very beginning when I first...

Keep Reading

It’s Hard on a Mother’s Heart To Watch Her Last Baby Grow Up

In: Baby, Motherhood
Child walking away in grass

My youngest son turned two a few months ago and still has a binky. He actually calls it his “mimi,” and he loves it so much. This morning I  looked at him with a mimi in his mouth and a mimi in his hand before I walked him into daycare and realized something. I am not ready to let go of the baby stage.  Getting rid of the binky would be the last step of the baby stage. He is already in a big boy bed. He doesn’t want to sit in a high chair for meals. He tries to...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.

Mother Holding Baby

5 Secrets

for New Moms

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Encouragement for the newborn stage