This morning, my husband sold our crib.
It was about eleven years ago when my mother-in-law and I went shopping for furniture for our nursery at USA Baby in Franklin, TN. She and my father-in-law agreed to buy our crib and changing table/dresser. They weren’t a set but they had a similar wood color. The crib was a good investment, we thought, because one could convert it into a full sized bed. They bought the attachments for the conversion as well.
The crib was built in the blue nursery we’d created and eventually use only once for our first child. I remember the night vividly. I’d not slept in months. He was a fussy baby. He would only sleep if he was nursing. Literally. This one particular night, I was determined to get him to sleep in his own bed so that maybe, just maybe, I could sleep without pain in my neck and side. Night nursing was killing me. After forty five minutes of listening to his horrifying screams, I took him out of the crib and he never used it or the nursery again.
Once my daughter was born, we moved across town to a smaller house that never had a nursery. We knew better.
So today, we sold a crib that was eleven years old and barely ever used. My daughter used it some when she was a toddler. My youngest used it a little as a newborn for naps. But basically, it wasn’t used more than a handful of times and, well, I’m thankful for that.
We don’t have any babies anymore, though my five year old still insists daily that he needs to nurse, despite being weaned more than two years ago. All of our children are “school aged”. Our oldest is even in the double digits now. We don’t own diapers. Nothing in our house is baby proofed. All three of our children frequently make their own meals and are relatively independent.
We’ve been married for nearly twelve years now. We’re closer to 40 than we are to 30. My marriage has miraculously survived the loss of my mother, a mental breakdown (mine), a midlife crisis (his), and a child with leukemia.
It’s not like I planned to have any additional biological children. We “took care” of that years ago. But I must admit that this selling of the crib has left me emotional. I don’t find it easy, here in the last week I’ll ever be 36 years old, to swallow the realization that things are happening so quickly, that time is going by so fast, and, most of all, that having babies is a thing of the past for me. While I do hope to adopt one day, I’ve already said that any child I adopt had better be six or older. Plenty of people want the babies. Not me. I don’t really even like babies.
This selling of the crib. This passing of the torch to some other family expecting a new addition. This feeling that I’ve crossed a finish line. It’s intense.
Last night my nine year old daughter was very ill with a stomach bug that seems to be ravaging my family. My ten year old, who worships the ground his sister walks on (she did save his life after all), was her caretaker. He cleaned her up, got her changed, held her hair back like a best friend after a keg party. He wiped her face with a wet wash cloth. He slept with her on the sofa so that if she needed him in the night, she could wake him easily.
Watching this, this loving, this kindness, this care, this big boy behavior… it dawned on me what this next stage has in store for us. Built in baby-sitters, more time together as a couple, finally showing the kids some episodes of South Park and Dirty Dancing, hikes, day trips, their first phones, their first loves, learning to drive.
And so as I shed a few tears for what is lost, what has passed, what will never be again, I smile as I reflect upon the amazing people my kids have become and I can’t help but feel excited. This next stage is already pretty fantastic.
Here’s to a full night’s sleep!