Yesterday, I had a baby.
Well, it feels like yesterday. It’s actually been four years, 2 months and 3 days since I had my last baby (but who’s counting?…) and in SEVEN days my “baby” will go to kindergarten (I am definitely counting). It seems impossible to believe. My baby is no longer a baby…no longer a toddler…no longer a preschooler. Soon she will be full-fledged “school-aged.” She will be in kindergarten. She’ll move to the big gym in Sunday School. She won’t come to Mommy Group with me – instead I will go ALONE, because I WON’T HAVE A PRESCHOOLER!
When I’m honest with myself I know that her going to school is a great thing. She is definitely ready to learn and to be kept busy. It will be so much easier and cheaper for us in terms of childcare. Dallas and I will take our day off on the same day. There is much for which to be thankful – not everyone gets to see their children reach Kindergarten age and not every Mama in the world has a great school for her child to attend. I am grateful. And I am also stunned.
Stunned that it went so fast. Here’s the thing when you have a baby: Everyone who has had one before – from the age of 19-90 – tells you how fast it will go. They tell you to savor the moments and to enjoy it because it will be over before you know it. And it’s not that you don’t believe them when they tell you – you just can’t really imagine it in that moment when you feel like you will never sleep again and most days at home with your baby seem to trudge instead of fly by. But then your baby is four and you hear yourself telling all the other mothers the same thing. You hear yourself looking at a baby item your friend is holding and saying “Gee, I wish they had that when I had my kids!” and you find yourself saying “I can’t remember!” when people ask you those things you thought you’d never forget such as when did they first eat green beans or what did they weight at their eight month check-up. Yesterday I was asked when my son started walking and I had to look it up. Those of you with infants are horrified – those of you with grown children are impressed I knew where I wrote it down.
There is nothing quite like September to remind you that sometimes life can feel like one big blink – you open your eyes and it seems like in the second they were shut your kids grew three inches, your hair is going grey or it’s already your eleventh wedding anniversary (by the way, Happy Anniversary tomorrow, Dallas! It seems like it was just yesterday that we ended up in the same campus tour group at McMaster…I could do this all day). I admit that I am one who tends to lament the passing of life. I put away baby clothes with tears in my eyes and look at old photos with longing and nostalgia. But when I’m prayerful and thoughtful and listen to what God is saying in my lament-ful moments, I hear a voice echoing a similar refrain as the mothers who were so eager to help me appreciate my newborns – “This is the moment to which I have called you. This is where I am.”
It’s not really about savoring the moment because I will lament its passing later. It’s about recognizing that God has led me and Lucy and Dallas and Josiah and all of us to the moment that we are in right now and if I am not careful – I might miss Him.
While I am sad that my baby is growing up, I will choose to also be excited. I am excited because of how I will see God in this next phase, in these new things. I know I’ll get to spend a lot of time with God because of this, as I am certain that me and God are going to be talking a lot this year about my little girl. (I suspect Lucy’s teacher may also find herself having some chats with Big Guy on Lucy’s behalf…Bless her teacher, Jesus. Amen. ).
If you are reading this today and you are facing a season of change – of growing kids or new jobs or retirement or moving or going back to school – I know that it’s hard not to be sad about the things that are over. I know the summer was too short and the vacation went too quickly and life goes by too fast. But even as we miss the way things were, I pray we can find joy in knowing that God is always doing a new thing. We can see Him in every new school, new season, new relationship, and new September.
This year, I get to see Him in Kindergarten.