Eric has been digging through old photos for a retrospective show of his photography. He has to mine through years of photos and in doing so we have been uncovering a lot of baby photos of the girls. Last night we got sidetracked and ended up looking at baby photos, our hearts aching a bit. How is it that life has moved so quickly?
It hit me that Elise is no longer a baby. That we are done with having a baby in our home. That is fine, people can't and shouldn't just have kids because they can, but it is sad sometimes to realize that another chapter of our life has closed.
I have been focused on helping each girl advance and grow. Crawling, walking, talking, weaning, potty training, sleeping through the night, dressing themselves, reading, etc. All of these things are so good and come with freedoms for both our children and for us as parents. Honestly the idea of going back to sleepless newborn nights could make me cry from exhaustion. However, my heart also knows that it will forever miss those two in the morning snuggles with a tiny baby in my arms, no matter how tired I may have been.
Last night after we finished looking at photos I went quietly upstairs and watched those girls sleep. Cordelia on the top bunk of her bed, Elise in her big girl bed. I could see the girls and someday the women they will become, but I can still see the baby that they were. I imagine that it will always be this way.
Parenting is a bittersweet business. Each new development means letting go of something that was so precious. I am very happy to be on this journey as a family, but oh how it makes my heart ache as we pass into each new phase. On the one hand I have slept through the night several times in recent months, I am able to communicate with sick children (so much easier than trying to figure out what is bothering a baby). The girls are more independent and confident in themselves, not leaning so hard on us--which is good, really it is so important. I love watching these girls become who they are, letting them follow their dreams and passions is the real gift here. Though I will always have a tear or two to shed for those babies who will never nestle into the crook of my arm at two in the morning. For now it is such a treasure to accept hand-made hearts inscribed with Cordelia's five-year old handwriting, "To Mom I love you. Cordelia" or to have Elise tell me that she just needs a "Mommy nuggle (that is snuggle)." That is just about as sweet as can be.