Monday, January 21, 2013

A new stage of life

It struck me suddenly. I'm no longer a parent to a group of toddlers. I'm stepping into a new phase of life. A good phase, mind you, but one that I wasn't quite prepared to reach quite yet.
In 2004, I was blessed to have a 1 year old (she turned 1 the day after her baby sister joined us) and a newborn.
In 2005, I was blessed to have a 2 1/2 year old, 1 1/2 year old, and a newborn.

For 2006 and 2007, I had my hands FULL! They were completely tied up holding onto little hands. it was during these years (2003-2007) that I was kept quite busy tending to the needs of my three daughters. It was during these days that I felt like I lived in the bathroom where potty-training seemed to NEVER end (they were all trained by the age of 2 years old, but we had a 2nd birthday for THREE consequetive years!). Then there were the issues of training them to go to sleep independently, and actually stay IN their bed at bedtime. This went on forever, too! Or so it seemed. Helping them learn to walk, to talk, to eat.... It all seemed like that was the only thing that consumed me during this time. And that it would never end. Sleepless nights were nonstop. Somebody was always up. There seemed to always be a mess to clean up. A diaper to change. A face to wash.

They were so dependent on me.
It seemed like that stage would never end.
Enter January 1st, 2008. We welcome baby number 4 into the mix. A boy! My oldest was 3 1/2 months shy of being 5 years old when the youngest was born. 4 kids in under 5 years.

This time things were a little different. My girls were all gaining independence quickly. Sure, I was still very much needed for hands on, but at 2 1/2, 4, and 5 years of age they were pretty good about going potty themselves, washing up, eating, and so on. I was needed, but in a different way.

It was only the boy that I was now changing diapers with, feeding, teaching him how to walk and talk, potty-training.
My girls could already do all of that.
Now, however, I'm reaching a new phase.
The level of dependence on mom is quickly waning.
Here it is, 2013.
My oldest is just a few months shy of turning 10- and my youngest just turned 5.

There are no diapers to change, nobody to feed, no potty-training.
I hardly believe this stage is here because I remember thinking "this will never end!"

What? Doesn't everyone roller skate in the basement?

Sleepless nights are now just my fault. Everybody wakes up in their own beds. Everyone goes to bed on their own and with just a few hugs and kisses aren't seen until morning.
They all can brush their own teeth. Get dressed themselves. Buckle and unbuckle in the van.
It's kinda weird.

Enjoying a pajama day during Christmas break playing with Legos. Yep. Small piece legos. Nobody in danger of swallowing them.
 I'm no longer be leaned completely on.
Yes, it's a new phase of life for me and my family.
I now carry a purse- not a diaper bag. And in my purse are items only for me. No spare underwear or a bag of Cheerieos. My hair is now able to be worn down and I can dig out my dangly earrings again because no one is going to be grabbing onto them. I can venture into different color clothing because I no longer fear being spit up on or messy little hands clinging to me.
I want to fully embrace this new phase of life. My children need me now more than ever, it's just a different type of need. The dependency they need is a solid foundation in Christ, a understanding of what a godly mother/wife/marriage looks like, a relationship with the Lord, how to interact with others during the good times AND the bad times. They need me not to just teach them how to read or help them with their multiplcation tables. They need me to point them to God when the trials hit. They need me to sing His praises all the day long. They need me to speak of Him and about Him and show them HIM! They need me to guide them during this phase so that they will become the people God wants them to be.

No, this stage of dependency is so different than being needed constantly, this stage of dependency is even more important.
But just like the last stage, this stage will only last for a short while..... and then it will be a new phase for everyone.


Ashley Ditto said...

You have a beautiful family, and so excited for your new phase! :)

Sara yourthrivingfamily said...

Loved this! Yes, it is definitely fleeting. My oldest is almost 7 and she "needs" me less and less - but like you said, in a different way.

Maybe someday I'll miss cleaning pee off the toilet, but not today :)


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