On Sunday night I laid down next to him and cried. It was such a small thing, really, but to me it was the world shifting. Life as I know it, my life, mother-of-babies life, is over.
Tomorrow, I thought, tomorrow will be a new one, and I never even mastered the old one.
He was on his side and I was on mine, and I tried whispering I love you one last time before the baby left and boy began, but I got no reply. And I cried saying goodbye to this era, to the babies, to the rocking chairs and the nursing hours.
It was easy to make the decision we were done when there were still baby years left, when he still toddled and babbled, carrying a sippy-cup everywhere and falling asleep to my songs. Today he runs, speaking words faster than I can understand them, lunching in his barn and telling me as I unbuckle him at the school gate, "No, Mom, I walk in by myself." Now, we are done done.
Two days later, I carry his sorry self across village lanes and over the canal, up a tall narrow staircase and into the waiting room. His brief illness has returned the baby to me, for a couple of days, at least. I feel silly thinking of crying in his bed on Sunday night when yesterday he is curled in my lap for hours.
I try not be a Helicopter Mom, but I am his. And he is our baby. And the school days won't change that. And at four, we've still got time. And today, and tomorrow, and the next day I have three hours alone in the house with all the babies gone. It's a brave new world and I, mercifully, start over again.
I can't promise this will be the last baby-being-done-and-growing-up post. I'm clearly still processing. And he is wearing his Jayhawk blues to represent Kansas, embodying so much of our old life while we live this new one. Does yours look different today, this month, this year, too?