I have 4 beautiful, incredible children. Each one is so unique and brings me so much joy and happiness. There is a 15-year age gap between my oldest and the next one. For a long time I didn’t know if I’d ever have another baby, and then the next three came, every two years, until we decided our family was complete. Our daughter, our youngest, was adopted, but only 8 days old when she came home to us. I was always very careful to pay attention to the end of something. After reading a post about never knowing when it would be the last time you would pick your child up, or nurse them, or lay them in their crib because they grow so quickly, I made sure I paid close attention and marked each occasion in my mind. I couldn’t stand the thought of never knowing it would be the last time. So today, when I realized a milestone had happened without me noticing, it caught my attention and has me thinking. I realized that we no longer need the staple that has been by my side for the last seven years: the diaper bag.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us are pretty choosy when it comes to the diaper bag. After all, it will be with us pretty much ALL of the time if we aren’t at home. For me, I wanted something stylish and timeless, that I’d be able to use for years. I chose one from https://kalencombaby.com/ – Kalencom is a company based out of New Orleans, LA – the city my granddaddy hailed from and one that’s close to my heart. My husband and I Honeymooned there and so, when I saw the bag I loved and where it was from, I knew that was the one. The bag I chose was this one, and it lasted this whole time:
I thought it would be perfect for a boy or girl, and the quality was there. So for 7 years, through 3 babies, this was the diaper bag. It made every single trip with us. It was there for the zoos and the hotels and the car rides. The shopping trips, the holidays and the fun adventures. It carried the supplies for my three youngest babies. And then, apparently, without me even noticing – it became obsolete.
I suppose 2020 could be partly to blame. We didn’t really go anywhere over the last year, and during that time our youngest turned 3. Now she’s almost 4. As I said, I was always very careful in marking milestones. In making sure I didn’t miss a thing. It was important to me. I guess it’s not a big deal to a lot of people, but my babies didn’t come easily – so I wanted to make sure every moment was cherished and acknowledged.
Today, when I was cleaning some things out of the back of the minivan, I went to move the diaper bag back into it’s usual resting place, in the back, behind my son’s seat. And that’s when it hit me – I didn’t need it anymore. I stood there for a moment wondering when I had even used it last and I couldn’t recall. My daughter has mostly potty-trained and only wears a diaper at night now. Gone are the needs for having diapers nearby or a change of clothes. The need for Curad to soothe a diaper rash or nursing pads or bottles. The security of having a pacifier, rattle or teether nearby. Those days are over. I felt a funny pull of sadness when I went through the bag. Not much remained inside, but there was a tube of ointment for rashes, a far-too-small diaper, and even a baby spoon. I tossed the baby spoons long ago, so seeing that bright little plastic thing kind of got to me. There was also a bib inside, and a small toy dinosaur.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want another baby. I’m well into my 40’s and, as I said earlier, I truly felt a completeness the day we brought our daughter home. The past few years have been a wild ride – full of fun and laughter and love. And believe it or not, I don’t miss having a baby. I said to my husband, just the other day, that I’d been changing diapers for seven years straight. Seven years! And I am ready to be done. I look forward to my daughter finishing out her potty-training and moving on from that phase of my life. And I wouldn’t want to go back to the nighttime feedings and the no sleep and the constant attention that they needed. But for the first time in awhile, I suddenly missed it.
I realized that, while I’ve been careful to cherish the moments, it won’t be possible to catch them all. Because I can’t always know when it will be the last time. Even with very careful watch and planning. Because they truly do grow up so very fast. And because, like all things in life, I don’t have complete control. It was a nice reminder to me of a time that, while not long ago, is definitely over. And that hurt, just a little bit. Because while I’m proud of how well they are doing and how much they are learning and how big they are getting, they will, in so many ways, always be those tiny babies that I worked so hard to bring into our world. That I held and fed in the quiet of the night. That I love so incredibly deeply, beyond measure. And realizing that that part of my life, of Motherhood, is over, feels a little sad.
I cleaned the diaper bag out and I added it to the pile in the back of the van that’s going to be donated, along with the clothes my daughter has outgrown. It feels odd to have such an attachment to objects, doesn’t it? To touch and see them and be taken right back to another time? I love the magic of that. And I loved that diaper bag. I’ll try to pay a little bit more attention from now on, so maybe I won’t miss the next one. But who knows? These kids keep me pretty busy.