My dear friend had a baby this week. As we spoke on the phone this morning, I learned the details -- when her water broke, the length of labor, how the little one was taking to nursing, and how my friend's recovery was progressing.
Like any parent with a newborn, her life is in upheaval. There's nothing typical or routine about coming home with a new baby, even if you've done it before. They're in the throes of blurred days and nights. Guests stop by with meals and well-wishes. Cards and gifts arrive in the mail. Thank you notes must be written. Nursing bras get broken in. A burp cloth is perpetually draped over a shoulder. Standing and sitting are done gingerly, and trips up and down the stairs are limited.
It's a whirlwind, punctuated with extensive picture-taking, emotional surges, and interrupted sleep. It's simultaneously awe-inspiring and exhausting.
As I imagined everything that my friend must be going through, I realized one thing with utter clarity and peace: I'm fine being past that stage in life.
This wasn't a quick realization for me. I love babies, and nostalgia has tugged as I've begun sorting our baby items to donate or sell. There are stories behind those newborn onesies. There are memories embedded within those leaving-the-hospital outfits. There are mental snapshots conjured when I run my hand over the bodice of a tiny dress. Even though my three children are still so young in the scheme of things, I can't help but catch my breath at how quickly it's already passing.
I remind myself that the stories, memories, and mental snapshots will continue, even if the clothes that my children wear now are bigger and marred with ketchup and grass stains, rather than with spit-up.
My heart knows. I'm okay with being done.