The summer brought a series of milestones for my young son Will. He potty-trained during a 2,500-mile road trip, successfully scaled his crib, celebrated his third birthday and experienced a growth spurt that changed him from a baby-faced toddler to a little boy. Since I’m 95% certain he is my last child, you would think these milestones would be bittersweet. But somehow, I managed them all with aplomb, especially bidding adieu to diapers once and for all (although now I have probably jinxed us for sure).
To cap off Will’s season ’o change, Ted dismantled the crib. Will was spending more nights in big sister Lauren’s bed anyway, and it seemed the two slept better together. Ted suggested moving the kids into the same room. After weighing the pros (uninterrupted sleep) and cons (the domino effect of changing rooms), I decided to give Ted’s idea a try. We purchased new beds for the kids and spent a full day moving Will’s things into Lauren’s room.
I felt myself feeling anxious, my emotions whirring around like clothes in a dryer. Will’s empty room made me nostalgic for my infant children. His room had been Lauren’s first, and I recall myself nearly 9 months pregnant, regarding the freshly painted walls, new furniture and the quilt made by her grandmother. I remember thinking; soon, there will be a newborn baby here, my baby.
When Lauren outgrew her room, Will took her place, and I never predicted he would leave. I couldn’t imagine a time when he wouldn’t be my baby. But here he was, after a summer of changes, leaving his crib behind and moving into a big boy bed.
While the kids were helping Ted locate his tools, I tried to make sense of this new space. Everything was out of sorts—there were books stacked in piles on the floor, scratches on walls where furniture used to be, dents in the carpet plus a bedside table, bookshelf and armoire that no longer had a place here. I started to blubber like a child, missing the way things were.
That evening, I kept Ted up with a crazy list of to dos: painting shelves, removing old furniture, and shopping for organizational supplies. But nothing would keep my children from growing up. Someday they’ll want their own rooms again and I’ll feel nostalgic for their preschool years. Until then, I’ll tuck them in at night—Will sleeping beside his cars, Lauren clutching her favorite blanket— and take my time with the rest.