I can see it now. Sometimes it’s dull (like when they pitter patter at 3am, and I stumble out bleary eyed to tuck them in again), and other times it flashes just so (like when she teases me with her 2yo giggle at her brother’s ball game, arms wrapped around my neck, “Mommy, I need you,” then gallops away to play with friends), signaling a reminder. A reminder that there isn’t a baby in our house for the first time in 13 years.
It’s not certain, because we Never Say Never around here, but gosh. Thirteen years.
The tunnel that I love is giving way to light: sleepless midnight hours, poop-throughs, day and night-long unmedicated back labors, spit ups, eleventy-billion hours of nursing round the clock, the resulting and perpetual ache between my shoulders, poop in my bed and on my shirt and on the inside of my elbow (how on earth?!) Everything times six.
The tunnel that I love is transitioning: fuzzy baby heads, gummy grins, footie jammies, natural birth euphoria (yes, really! but we’re “never doing that again!”), milk coma, post-bath giggles, chubby hands exploring my face, quiet nursing rooms where we both can escape the chaos. Everything times six.
It was dark in there sometimes. Quiet, with only the cacophony chorus of family to keep me company. And other times that chorus filled my soul so fully that days would go by before I counted back to see when was it again that I last left the house. The tunnel of newborns and toddlers on repeat was cozy and rarely confining, but as the big kids got older and the babies kept coming, there were a few miles that I strained for a glimmer. It won’t be forever, right?
The light is coming now. “The sun always comes up, right mom?” when I kiss her goodnight. It sure does.
The Bonus Sisters, in all their glory.
Our 5th is in afternoon preschool starting yesterday, making her sister a reluctant only child for 3 1/2 hours 4 days a week.
It is both liberating and daunting, approached with joyful caution, the light at the end of this tunnel that I love.