Always, in life, there are signs. A lot of them are subtle -- most of them, probably, because life is like that -- and some of them announce themselves with a blaze of highway-safety orange or neon green. I realized, this morning, as I rounded up items for a Goodwill donation, and papers to shuffle and a list of places I needed to stop, that over the recent days, the landscape of our life has shifted. Just a bit. But like erosion on a cliff face, one day you notice how much is changed.
Last weekend, we moved our youngest child out of his crib and into a "big-boy bed" (a twin mattress and box spring on the floor). He is going to be three in November, and well, it was time. Wren had already been moved to a bed by this age, primarily because Noah was on his way and we needed the crib. Now, the crib we bought secondhand when Wren was coming is in pieces stacked neatly in the closet in Noah's room. I washed and folded all the crib sheets and stacked them in the closet, too, along with the crib skirt, the changing table pad and covers, and the crib toys.
This morning, I rounded up a huge bag of small toys. Some of them were infant toys obviously no longer needed, some were the dreaded Happy Meal toys that seem to multiply their uselessness endlessly, and some were things that the kids just didn't play with anymore. I also donated the smallest of the three riding toys we had in the house. A good portion of our Fisher-Price Little People toys have now moved upstairs to the kids' rooms. The great room no longer looks like a badly-kept Toys R Us store. I am *this close* to knicknacks and candles and antiques and things of value on display again.
Kira is coming home this weekend for a couple of days. I haven't spoken to her in two weeks, but I know she is okay and hopefully having a great time on her dad's farm. When fall rolls around, she will be starting the seventh grade. We will have to go shopping for school clothes, and find a dress for the Christmas dance.
I am buying my daughter dresses for dances.
With her, as with Noah, I am constantly torn between wanting her to grow up, and wanting her to stay little. part of me hopes she will come home from the summer with a new interest in fashion (even a little bit), and some additional maturity for handling social situations. but part of me wants her to stay little, stay young, and be out of reach of the understanding of things like money, stress, disaster, and human nature.
In three years, Travis and I will have been married ten years. By that point, Kira will be steadfastly a teenager (15), Wren will be starting the second grade (halfway though elementary school at age 8), and Noah, who is a little like Peter Pan, always my little boy, will be six. All of that in three short years.
The clock in my kitchen is ticking the seconds away. I can't stop the passage of time, nor can I slow it. I can savor the moments, take a million pictures, and know that we are raising three fine human beings. My living space is a little bit neater (sort of), and the equipment and supply needs for my children are a lot less, but I know that there will be even more signposts to read on this road, and I am enjoying the ride, looking out the window, and sharing the time with my most favorite human beings in this world -- my family.