Last night, I couldn't fall asleep.
It wasn't one of those insomniac moments I've grown accustomed to over the past 18 months. It was a "very emotional, too-much-on-my-mind" kind of wakefulness.
So many out-of-control changes happening at once. All very emotional.
We had rented a Redbox movie on Sunday night. And, as per usual, we both fell asleep thirty minutes in. We had every intention and determination on buckling down and getting our money's worth last night, but ten more minutes in, and hubs was back in dreamland.
I watched the movie thru, but I couldn't tell you really what happened. My mind was in the rooms down the hallway. The rooms containing five sleeping children.
In an unprecedented move, I got up at midnight, walked down to the girls room, and went in. I looked over and saw my princess sleeping so beautifully and peacefully in a bed that seems to swallow her whole, still. Just six months ago, she was in an adorable toddler bed with a tiny "fit just right" blanket.
Last week, she turned five.
I looked down from where the Princess was sleeping to see my Wild Nature Lover all snuggled tight with her fuzzy treasures. She clutched her "Tigey" so tight. "Tigey" rarely leaves her side. She even has a spare "Tigey". In addition, she's been out of diapers completely (even at night) for almost a whole year now. It doesn't seem possible.
Across from her laid the Darling Baby my heart purposed to see at this late hour. She may be a carbon copy of Miss Wild Nature Lover, but her little button nose and kissable cheeks were made her seem so very fragile and innocent in the soft glow of their beloved flowery nightlight. I squinted a bit so as to picture her a bit smaller, surrounded by the comfort of her crib.
But, she wasn't in her crib. I've been able to kneel down and tuck her in with kisses for months now. She doesn't cry for me in the night anymore. She doesn't have to have me tuck her in; daddy is an acceptable alternative. She doesn't wake, first thing, and come down the hall to find me to nurse her grumpies away (she's not a morning person. She takes after me.). In fact, she found she'd rather jump right into keeping up with her big sisters, instead.
Two weeks from today, she'll be two. And I can't fathom that. I can't. She's my baby. Quite possibly, my last baby. I'm not ready to let that go. To let her cheeks lose all the baby in them. To watch the dimples in her little hands fade. Knowing full well that her cute short-legged toddler runs will eventually turn into agile, faster, more limber strides. It makes me feel sick to my stomach, literally. This isn't my first rodeo. I know how quickly all these baby things disappear. I've watched them fade by the hour four times before.
My oldest leaves for summer camp in six days. I have major second thoughts. I don't want him to go. My excitement for him has turned into pure dread. I told him I'd be happy to drive him down as a family and stay in a nearby hotel for the week just to make him feel secure. He is strongly against it.
A few days ago, my boys were rummaging around in an old tub of stuff in our storage and they came across an old Flip camera that Mike and I lost soon after our second son was born. We have looked everywhere for that thing for seven years. There are 34 videos on there. All of them were of my oldest as a baby/toddler. The last video was of my boys getting newly acquainted days after our second son was born.
I couldn't handle it. I sobbed. So very much has changed since then. So so so much. Sometimes the three little sisters run my day so much, that I often find myself daydreaming of the simpler days of just me and my little boys.
And now, we're doing summer camp. And fourth grade. And second grade.
And other things are changing too, that I cannot control. Things that make me wonder..."can we just rewind time a bit? I couldn't see through the fog before now."
The fog of fatigue, depression, and anxiety stole the last 18 months from me. And now that I'm slowly walking thru that fog, I see some break in the thickness. My eyes have been opened; time never paused, even when I felt like it had stopped my living. Nope. It kept going on all around me. This is the outcome: a lot of growing up.
So I sat with my baby, next to her bed, for several minutes last night. I stroked her fine, soft golden hair, I kissed her cheeks more times than I should have for fear of waking her, and I stared and cried, thanking Jesus for each of these blessings I have. Thanking Him for their health. Thanking Him for the sustenance He supplied to me over the past 10 years in order to get them to the point where they would no longer cry out to me in the night.
She never fully woke. But, she knew I was there because she opened her eyes for a few short seconds and smiled the most precious smile. She kept that closed-mouthed smile on her face as she shut her eyes and allowed me to love her back to her dreams.
These children are happy and satisfied.
Because of me.
Now He says to me "Rest, My Daughter. I watch them now, so you can sleep."