A few weeks ago, I walked past the little girls’ room and the glider caught my eye. For those not familiar, a glider is like a rocking chair, but it has cushions and “glides” back and forth, rather than rocking. Also, it’s ridiculously comfortable. Trust me, I know. I’ve spent a truly untold number of hours sitting in that chair nursing, rocking, holding and snuggling babies. On this day, I glanced over and noticed the glider sitting there, and it hit me.
It was covered in stuff. The seat was full of stuffed animals. The side pockets were full, overflowing, literally into the floor, with books. The nursing pillow was crammed into the space between the chair and the ottoman, no longer a useful tool but something that gets tossed from place to place as it gets in the way. And I can’t actually remember the last time I sat in the glider. “Ugh. I need to sell that thing. It’s just sitting there taking up space”, I thought to myself.
My steps slowed. Am I really ready to do that? Trust me, I usually have no trouble getting rid of stuff. I love it. Every time I open up a previously filled space in my home, I can breathe just a little bit easier and my life feels just a little less overwhelming. But this time, I faltered. I walked over to the chair. I moved all the lovies from the seat, put them in their rightful basket. I straightened the books sticking every which-way out of the pockets on the sides, and picked up my old nursing pillow. I sat down in the seat. I had no babies to nurse, no one to rock to sleep (for hours and hours), and no one wanted to come snuggle with me and listen to stories. Don’t get me wrong, they still want lots and lots of stories, just nobody wants to sit in the chair to listen to them. I don’t need the chair anymore.
I feel very comfortable with the size of my family. Three babies is plenty. Also, I really, really don’t want to be pregnant again. It makes me…not the most pleasant version of myself. I’m pretty sure my pelvic floor would collapse and fall out in the floor if I forced it to bear the weight of another baby. So, my family is complete. Yet, the thought of getting rid of this chair makes my breath catch in my throat, and my eyes mist over, ever so slightly.
I’m at a crossroads. A place I haven’t been in a very long time. Over ten years. For all this time, I’ve either had a baby, or plans to have another baby. Or had a child and a baby, and no plans to have another baby, and then a surprise baby. But now I’m done. My littlest baby is no longer really a baby anymore. And it’s wonderful. One of the best, most amazing parts of my life is being able to watch my children grow and change and learn. At the same time, it’s hard. You go from being completely essential, the cornerstone of their existence, to just…Mom. A fantastic, exalted title, believe me, but it’s different. So you must start to cast about for new meaning, to try to remember who you, are in addition to Mommy.
While I have no problems with purging, relieving myself and my house of things we don’t need or have room for, I’m not the best at dealing with change. According to the Buddha, once we make peace with the impermanence of all things, we can begin to free ourselves of suffering. So much easier to say things like that, and reference the Buddha and sound all smart and philosophical and stuff, than to actually do it. I have a long history of resisting change and probably won’t stop anytime soon. But, like so many things, I’m working on it. My heart hurts just a little bit at leaving this part of my life behind. I’ve learned with my children, every time they enter a truly maddening phase, it’s just not worth dwelling on because it will be over as soon as it starts. So it seems to go with the rest of life. It’s not worth dwelling too long on a certain phase, or you’ll find yourself still dwelling, and the phase will be long past and you forgot to enjoy the current phase. (Oh, God! I make myself so smart when I write!)
It’s time for me to take another look at myself. It’s time for me to start planning and looking toward my future. Time to let go of being a mother of babies, and start being a mother to three amazing, funny, maddening, delightful girls. It’s time for me to look at this new phase, to enjoy and revel in it, before it too passes and we’ve all moved on to something else.
It’s time to remember that I am enough, just as I am, at any phase in this journey, and various titles and roles in my life can’t change that.
It’s time to let go of the old, to make room for the new.
I have a yellow gingham glider for sale.