While walking into Buy Buy Baby to purchase our nearly 10-month-old a sippy cup, I was nearly brought to tears. You see, I have walked into this store countless times in the last seven years. Each time it was to pick up some item or gadget for our ever-growing clan of little ones. During those times I was still so deep in the trenches of raising tiny babies that the idea of not needing to walk into a store like that again one day never even crossed my mind.
But today as I—like the seasoned veteran I am—walked directly to what I needed, I was blindsided by all the pregnant mamas and couples slowly moving from one area to the next. Looking in awe and wonder at all the gear. It was obvious they were just starting their parenthood journeys as they carefully touched items. Their excitement was palpable as they chatted among themselves about what they thought they would need for their precious bundle.
No one ever prepares you for the gut-wrenching sadness you can feel when you realize you’re nearing the end of a chapter in life. Or for the way it hits—so suddenly and washes over you completely.
As I stood facing the wall of sippy cups, I fought back tears as I thought back to the many, many times my own journey of motherhood brought me to this very store. All those times I pulled up reviews on my phone to decide which model to buy or the countless times I had my husband drag car seats to our car to see if they’d fit before we took the plunge to purchase. All those times I caressed my growing belly while flipping through tiny clothes and wondered what our baby would look like. I thought back to each time we picked up the items, toys, or gear that now litters our home. Each of those once shiny new items now shows evidence of the three babies who have used them.
The truth is you never realize that chapters will end when you first begin them. At that moment, you’re certain the pages will keep turning forever. Especially in those early chapters of motherhood. Quite literally some pages feel like they will never turn—nighttime feedings, teething, snooty noses—but then just like that, the page falls with a heaviness that nearly knocks you over.
Even though it is our choice that our family is complete with three children, the realization that this is the end of having babies in our home is a hard one to accept.
Today, I mourned the slowly closing pages of this chapter of my motherhood. I know that one day, sooner than I would like, I will walk out of a baby store and never walk in again for my babies.
But the beauty of one chapter ending is that then a new chapter will begin, and well, who knows yet what adventures lie ahead.