The Moment You Realize Your Baby Has Grown

I imagine many of you veteran mothers will read this, and smile, both with wisdom and with experience, knowing I have only just scratched the surface of this journey.

I have four children (granted, one still in the womb), yet I'm so very green; I'm just shy of 5 years trekking into this sticky-fingered, slobbery-kissed, laundry-piled, love-worn wilderness of motherhood.

My first experience with knowing my baby had become a boy happened several weeks after my first-born had blown out the birthday candles.  I wasn't prepared that night to see myself in the mirror, after I had managed to pick up the heavy weight of slumbering 4-yr-old from our bed, to place him into his own.

I wasn't cradling him like I thought I was.  Rather, the mirror revealed his long floppy arms dropped over one side of me, while his long heavy legs dropped over the other, and I held him like my baby, but he was so very clearly...a boy.

And it hurt.  I cried.

I was forced to acknowledge that somewhere along the trek of this motherhood wilderness, I had transitioned to a new path, slowly and surely, one goodnight kiss at a time, until I found myself here in front of the mirror with the big floppy sleeping boy draped over my arms.

This week it happened again.  My second-born.  My first baby girl.  Her daddy carried her in from the car and I was taken aback by the way she looked in his arms.

My throat tightened. "Our baby," I whispered.  "She's a girl."

And the pang of her babyhood behind us, and the pride of her blossoming girlhood before us, and the joy of her personhood within us - it all intermingled together into joyful sorrowful tears.

Yes, dear Veteran Mother; I'm ready for you to tell me that this will happen again and again.

It will happen in the most ordinary, but sacred, moments when we stumble into the reality that our babies have outgrown yet another phase of life.

It will happen again and again with all of them as they grow, and we find ourselves journeying a new path in the wilderness of parenthood without even having realized the path had ever changed, until it's already behind us.

I want to tread slowly.

With reverence and awe.  I must tread slowly.

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