The night I took a deep summer breath and said goodbye to our room with a crib was the night sky looked like this:
When my third baby was born, I had three children ages 4 and under. I was feeling like I’d always carry a purse that redefined a diaper bag and wear a baby in a sling. Our bedroom rarely saw deep streaks of sunlight with constant room darkening shades pulled taut beside our bed, changing table’s stacks and crib’s soft-sleeper inside.
My husband and I believe it’s best not to compare our children to one another. When Olive held her leg high like a track star hurtle jumper and tried to escape her crib, I didn’t have to say her two older sisters were already in big girl beds at eighteen months.
Recently, we spent all weekend at a neighboring island enjoying a music festival with friends. For the first time ever, Olive didn’t nap. On the long ferry ride home I decided since she’d rocked out for twelve hours each day like a big girl, she needed to switch to a big girl bed. Luckily, friends needed our crib handed down. Luckily, friends had handed down the greatest toddler bed. There’s balance in giving and receiving.
There were fits of rolling against the carpet when the crib fell to pieces around our bedroom, tears of heartbreak when baby crib parts went out the door. Two minutes later there were giggles and three sisters smiling as they set up stuffed friends and well-loved-blankies on the smallest of our home’s big girl bed.
So much goes into tucking in the smallest of our babes when the night comes: fan on high, birth playlist starts with vintage Neil Young, shades taut, kisses blown in doorway’s arch.
Moments later, in couch’s vortex felt after a weekend in the sun and dancing under the meteor shower Luke squeezes my hand, whispers, Well, that was easy. And with a crooked smile, one half joyful smile while one half bittersweet frown, Our girls are getting big. Love you. Love us.
Maybe one minute passed, long enough for us to enjoy the evening summer sunset from our dusty window. Well, at least long enough for me to say, Sky looks like orange and blueberry sherbet.
Total hysterical cries and shrieks drown out The Avett Brothers from Olive’s baby monitor.
I run up the stairs, into the room we happily share with the smallest of our three daughters. I find her clutching her stuffed bunny bun-bun, trying to rock herself in our big person rocking chair while hugging most recent’s favorite bedtime story Knuffle Bunny.
How could I forget the routine we started when she was an infant? My heart sank for her.
When I turned on the slight light I saw she was signing Mama, please through tired tears. I said, Oh, sorry baby girl. You want your bedtime story and Mama to rock you? She offered more Mama, please through deep sighs of relief. Thankfully, I have my babe to keep me on my toes and to remember the rituals we carry with us are some of our earliest memories, some of our favorite routines.