There are so many reasons I should be celebrating. Making that last preschool payment should make me want to jump for joy!
It means we have extra money each month to spend elsewhere. It means we have officially graduated from pull-ups and sippy cups. It means all my kiddos are old enough to make their own snacks, put on their own shoes and buckle themselves up in the car.
Those are all good things that definitely bring a smile to my face. But, then my heart feels heavy and my eyes fill with tears. Because this also reminds me that our family has graduated to the next level. There will be no more rocking a baby to sleep. No more wearing a little one in a sling across my chest.
No more first steps, or first time riding a tricycle, or meeting the first preschool teacher.
I know it’s just life. Letting go of one phase and moving to the next. It happens all the time, to everyone. And the next phase always brings such wonderful, unexpected things with it. I know, I know.
It just hurts today. It makes me sad to be exiting the beautiful, crazy phase of babies and toddlers. The sweet innocence. The complete wonderment. The sleepless nights that turn into yummy morning cuddles. The plethora of firsts you witness as your little human soaks up this world around him. And the chubby little fingers wrapped around yours as they cling to you for comfort.
Oh, my goodness, those little fingers. Whew.
I should be happy that we’re leaving behind those things that tend to be so burdensome when you have toddlers … the constant packing up of the car, the required outside time to burn energy, the messy house, the tantrums.
But, I didn’t mind packing a diaper bag, stroller and, let’s be honest, half of the house when we left to go anywhere because it meant I had a squishy little baby on my hip. And I still bring half the house with us, but now it’s a thermal tote of snacks instead of a diaper bag, a fold-up wagon full of baseball bags and bats instead of a stroller, and their personal backpacks full of trucks, books, homework, tablets, headphones, and more snacks.
And I’ve always been happy to go outside and blow bubbles and get dirty whenever they wanted because it meant at that moment I was outside in the sunshine with them and not working.
The messy house is still a messy house, it’s just changing. Instead of blocks and stuffed animals being dumped everywhere, it’s Legos and mini figures.
And those tantrums … yea, I’m glad we’re slowly moving out of the toddler meltdown stage. Although, I’ve learned tween drama isn’t a walk in the park either. ?
I know awesome things are to come when my little ones aren’t so little anymore. I know it will make parts of our lives so much easier. I know I should be thankful they are healthy and growing and changing. Yep, I know all that.
But, today I’m gonna hold my preschooler on my lap, have a little Mommy cry, and take a mental picture of this sweet child’s hands holding onto me.
This post originally appeared on 39ishLife. It has been reprinted with permission.
Dana is the founder and content creator of 39ish Life, a freelance writer and editor, and an aspiring children’s book author. In addition to RealityMoms, her work has been featured on TODAY Parents, Perfection Pending, That’s Inappropriate, Sunshine and Hurricanes, Parenting Teens and Tweens, and in the anthology “The Unofficial Guide to Surviving Life With Boys.” She lives in Florida with her hot husband and their four awesome boys. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.