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Motherhood: The Heart-wrenching Birthday That Closed a Season

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Walking into her room, holding her in my arms, I choked up a bit. I struggled with not wanting to lay her in her crib and easing the tiredness in my arms. I thought that if I just held her a little longer, I could keep her little forever. Instead of laying her down to sleep and waking up one year older, I could simply hold her and defy time.

But we all know it doesn’t work that way.

The closing of a season is bittersweet.

The Third Birthday

While the littlest grew more and more excited with each passing day, my heart sunk a little lower as each day passed. It was inevitable, that third birthday. Try as I might to keep her little, the hands of time kept moving forward.

Although I’ve watched our older three pass this milestone, this time it’s different. An ache is there that I never felt before. She’s the baby. The Birthday that marks the closing a season, and the beginning of a new chapter. No longer a baby or a toddler, it would mean the “baby” is now actually a “big girl.” But her Mama wasn’t quite ready for all that yet.

This is the Birthday that marks the closing of a season, and the beginning of a new chapter. No longer does a baby or a toddler live under our roof. No longer am I washing little baby clothes, toddler clothes, or cloth diapers. It means that the “baby” is now actually a “big girl.”

I made it.

Remembering the newborn and toddler years is sweet. It’s mainly a blur. I’m thankful for pictures and videos that I took, while not organized in any way shape of form. They put together the story of the years that I spent in the trenches, in survival mode, just trying to get through the day.

Big changes are on the horizon. Finalizing potty training, the milestone of moving to a big girl bed, weaning (yes, at three), purging the stuff we no longer need and moving from the rental house to an apartment. It’s all a little much for this mama’s heart.

It’s all a little much for this mama’s heart.

The Closing of a Season

For 8 years my life has been defined by toddlerhood. As the older three passed through this season, there was either a newborn in the house or I was with pregnant. This is the longest I’ve not been pregnant since we found out we were pregnant with our oldest. This new season has left me feeling empty and unsure of how to navigate this unknown waters.

How does one navigate motherhood with elementary aged children and preschoolers with no baby to wear or feed or tend to? It’s all so foreign.

As we change our nightly routine to help with the weaning, I lay beside her, snuggling in close. As she drifts off to sleep, I watch her little chest rise and fall with each breath. I gently lay my head on her chest and listen to the beat of her heart. I marvel at how long she has gotten, remembering how she once fit in my arms.

This new chapter is exciting, and yet bittersweet. They say to savor the time when they are little because it passes so quickly. But it’s hard. When you’re in the trenches simply trying to survive the day, it’s hard to savor those moments. The days are so long, but the years are even shorter.

One night you’ll nurse your tiny baby to sleep. You’ll gently lay them in their crib and slowly turn to quietly make your way out the door. Then you’ll wake up the next morning being greeted by a three-year-old, saying, “The sun is up! It’s morning time!!” and you’ll wonder where has the time gone.

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