My baby turned four on Tuesday. . . .
Perhaps you didn't hear correctly. My BABY turned four on Tuesday. On Sunday I held him close and said, "When you turn four, you'll be a big boy, and you won't be my baby anymore." I said this with some sad longing in my voice. Even in his little boy brain he could see my need for feedback of some kind. He put his perfect little arms around my neck and said, "I always your baby, Mommy. Even when I grow up and I'm super big, I be your baby forever."
Awww. . . .
Except I know better.
I know that as the youngest he probably will always hold some kind of special place in my heart, unique from the others (though they each occupy their own place too). But I know that boys grow up. Sports, friends, school, girls, mission--each in their turn will become more important than I am. Some replacements will be temporary. Others, not so much. I feel like I am standing on the edge of the next phase of my adult life.
The first phase were those single days. I find that the longer I live past that time, the more more idyllic they become! Fun and carefree days with roommates. College. Cheesy jobs. Heaps of friends. Student government. Mission. But I'm not naive. I also remember those days as being filled with a lot of loneliness, and longing--a sense of waiting for my life to begin. I think I missed a lot of joy from that time because I was always looking toward that moment in the future when I would be happy. I'm so grateful for those years that taught me about how sanctifying waiting can be, how to live with and love myself, and how to have a testimony.
Phase two is married without kids. This phase only lasted a couple of years for us. This is not a phase that has gotten more idyllic with the passage of time. It is true that we did a lot of fun things in that time, and that money wasn't as stressful as in later years (we had a whole year of two professional incomes without kids or a house payment), but we are so much more happily married now. I'm a great wife, but I was kind of a lousy newlywed. I brought too many hang-ups, and perhaps some unrealistic expectations into that most holy union.
Phase three is young kids, aka, "baby prison." I won't say much about that. After all, the blog is nearly five years old, and if you have even followed a portion of that time you know enough of my adventures in phase three.
But now . . .
There is no baby here. No diapers. Few little kid toys even hanging around. Our conversations (that don't involve shooting stuff) are actually interesting and uplifting around here. Oh, my men and still little and busy, and there are days that are just wearing physically and emotionally, but mostly I have been given my own life back. This morning I spent time sending a rather lengthy letter to a friend. I am now working on this blog post. I will probably spend time later consolidating and copying down recipes. As long as I stop to provide food, the pirates (the game of choice this morning) will probably stay pretty content.
My graduate program begins in just a few weeks. I am scrambling through my to-do list, hoping to accomplish some domestic activities before I get my feet wet. I have mentioned before that the last year or two I felt a sort of limbo--unsure about having more kids, not knowing what to do next, frustrated with a dead-end job we can't afford for me to quit, etc. etc. Now I feel like it is time to take the next step forward.