Today my youngest son turns 5! If you have been with my blog for a while you might remember that I got pregnant with him right after we moved back to the US after four years in Germany. In some ways I just can’t believe we are here. My youngest child is now five years old! I feel like I hit a bit milestone there.
When your oldest child turns 5, there is celebration. There is something about that number that means your child is no longer a preschooler. They are a regular kid, getting ready to start kindergarten. As each of my kids have hit 5 I have felt that we have graduated to a new stage of parenting. But now that the “baby” is five, it is a really big deal.
When your youngest child turns five you feel like one big part of your parenting is over for good. Diapers and baby food and preschool choices and long sleepless nights are very much in the past. You think back to those years and wonder how you got through them. You see friends going through those years and want to tell them that they will get though them too. But you are not experiencing that time of life anymore. You have graduated. You are in high school looking back at your junior high years.
When your youngest child turns five you think about how will never be the mom of the “littlest ones” anymore. Soon all of your children will be school aged and you will be away from them during the school day. You won’t have a mid-week lunch playdate, you won’t have to fill all those hours that used to be consumed with taking care of a child. It’s different and there is no going back.
When your youngest child turns five you remember when motherhood started and all the different challenges and phases you have been through. You think about how you used to have to rock your sweet baby to sleep and how you couldn’t decide whether to start them on food at five months or six. You remember worrying about what car seat you need to buy and whether your child would learn how to use the bathroom. Through learning to walk, talk and potty training has been replaced with other “big kid” skills that you know your children need to learn.
In some ways it is strange to be in this place. Kids grow up. I know this but to see our family shifting yet again seems so strange sometimes. To know that in about six months we will have all school aged kids and be passed the preschool years forever. It’s a strange feeling because it does not seem like that long ago that I was putting a 1 and 3-year-old in a double stroller and heading to the Commissary. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was waking up a few times a night feeding my small baby. It really doesn’t.
As I look ahead I am excited. Every year brings a little bit more independence from my kids. Every year they get closer to the men they are going to be. I never wanted to rush that and I don’t think I have. Every year brings with it good things as well as challenges, some harder than others.
When your youngest child turns five you are reminded of everything you have done as a mom and think about everything you will do. You see your kids as children and not babies and yet still remember them that way as well. It’s an interesting feeling.
As I look at my sweet boys who are now 5, 8 and 11 and think about where we are in life and I just smile. We made it. Through the baby years, through the toddler years and through the preschool ones. We are now raising three boys, ready to take on the world in their own special way.