Today is officially Benjamin’s birthday- our “baby” is 3. I know how this feels and I know what to expect because our babies have turned 3 before, a few times actually.
I know that when the baby turns 3 you find that on an occasional Saturday afternoon you are able to nap again on the couch while your 3 year old keeps busy playing nearby.
I know you find you have time to finish the dishes or laundry with a little bit less child-under-foot to slow you down.
I know that your arms are less tired (and soon to be less tone) because you are not constantly holding someone on your hip.
I know that you have time to get through a morning shower and get dressed with a little more finesse and a little less panic- fury.
I know that you suddenly get accustom to walking bent over as you are now holding the ever curious hand of someone who is constantly trying to run ahead.
I know what it feels like to begin watching the playground activity from the bench instead of from the back of your child -as you used to follow them through tunnels and down slides.
I know what it feels like to simply place lunch on a plate or pour milk in a cup and not worry about holding utensils, securing bibs, and searching for the missing sippy cup stoppers because they are no longer needed.
I know what it feels like the moment you get back in the car with a three year old and realize that you didn’t remind them of the potty during your errands and they are still dry… so you stop reminding so often.
I know what it’s like when you realize everyone in the household now understands when you speak… when there is no more “well the baby cant clear his plate, grab a shirt from her drawer, pick up their toys” because everyone (while sometimes unwillingly) basically CAN.
I know there is a point you forget what sleepless nights feel like, or sore arms, or what it’s like to pack a diaper bag or make a bottle.
I know how quickly you will forget, and when you do remember- it will be only through rose- colored glasses.
I know because before we knew we would adopt- Jesse was our baby.
Before we knew we were pregnant, Chace.
Before foster care found us again, Colbie.
Then Noah, if only for a short time, held that title.
And now there is Benjamin. He is 3 today. And now and forever, he is our very last baby.
I know the milestones will come and go, and most I won’t notice until they have already gone.
I look at all of the babies we’ve raised before Ben, all 9 of them- and marvel at how wonderful they have become, how tall, how independent, how intelligent. And I am amazed at how fast it all happened, and just as amazed that I didn’t even see it changing -even though I had a front row seat.
So I will soak it up, and take it in. Each milestone that I am present to catch. Each height line on the wall. Every new adventure. Honestly? I will probably let Ben take the long way around when he chooses because I am just a little sad to see these phases go… just like I did with our previous “babies”.
But, truth be told, it’s also time to see what happens when the last baby turns 4 or 5 or 10. Because THAT is something I have not experienced or felt yet. And I am just as eager to meet and embrace that phase as I am hesitant to leave this one behind.
Cheers to the end of saving baby clothes, bottles, sippy cups, a crib, or your toddler bed, for “the next one”. Because you are it. The next wonderful phase is here.
Happy 3rd Birthday Baby Benjamin.