“The pants don’t fit you anymore,” I said. “It’s time for them to move to Isaac’s drawer.”
“Yeah, because I keep growin’,” Ezra says to me, with a certain gleam in his eye, waiting for my reaction.
I turn to look at him with my false-stern look on my face, always with a trace of of a smile. “That’s right, you keep growing even though I told you not to and now you’re in really big trouble!”
His eyes sparkle and his smile grows wide as I tease him. “And you’re gonna be so mad at baby when she grows bigger too!”
I placed my hands on my then ripening belly and agreed with him, adding that she was already in trouble because she’s already growing bigger and bigger.
And now she’s here, two months old and growing bigger every day. They are all here and it’s bittersweet watching them grow, there’s enjoyment and lament with each phase that passes us by; each new box of clothing opened with excitement is always partnered with the tears of packing away the clothes that no longer fit.
They are growing me, too. They are teaching me how to be mama; they bring out my good and I celebrate, they bring out my terrible and I long for change, for growth.
I love being mama to these four little ones. I know I will always be their mama, even when they are grown and gone from the house, even when they have families of their own. But as difficult of a time as it is, being constantly needed by so many people, it is such a known, familiar place to me now. At first it was foreign and uncomfortable but now I see how much purpose I find in it, how much of my identity is wrapped up in it.
I think a part of me doesn’t want them to grow because that means I must grow too, and soon the era of having young babies on the hip or suckling at the breast will be over, and then who will I be? For over 8 years I have been carrying babies in the womb or on my hip and now I don’t know who I will become; I can’t see the forest from the trees.
“But I can’t help it!” Ezra says with a smile, “I’m supposed to grow!”
Yes, son, you are supposed to grow. And so am I. Let’s grow together, as we always have.