I unbuckle their carseats, and they hop down all by themselves and race/toddle toward the front door. My hands are free to grab the bags. I look around as I pick them up, as though unsure why my shoulders are so light.
“I’m done with breakfast,” he announces, clearing his place. “Now I’m going to get dressed.” He skip-walks up the stairs and comes down five minutes later wearing what is more or less a matching outfit.
I haven’t even gotten up from the table yet.
“Come on, Theo Bear!” I hear from my perch at the bottom of the play structure. “Let’s slide down on our bellies!” A moment later they come whooshing down, side by side and all smiles.
“Again!” Theo shouts to his big brother, and they each begin climbing up: Theo navigating the steps, Sebastian on the bigger boy ladder.
I move toward them, expecting that someone will need a hand. They don’t. I step back. And smile.
It is an amazing thing, after more than four years of my body belonging to someone else, to have these moments where it is all mine again. It feels like every day – it probably is every day – they learn to do another task independently.
I can already see the light at the end of the tunnel, where there is a life without sippy cups or diapers or bibs or cribs.
And you know what? I’m not sad about it.
Every time a friend posts on facebook that her baby is now walking, someone always comments, “So sorry! ; )” Because yes, it is challenging in a different way than a crawling baby. But I was never sorry when either of my boys started walking. I was elated. Finally they could get around without me. Finally I’d have two hands free much of the day.
“I want another kid,” I declared to my husband the other day. “But I don’t know if I want another baby.”
It isn’t that I didn’t love the baby stage when my boys were little. Oh wait. Yes, it is. I loved them, but pregnancy and infancy were not my best stages as a mother. I enjoyed all the fabulous firsts we associate with those times, but I celebrated rather than mourned each move toward independence.
It’s true, there are times when I miss the days without disciplining. An infant’s needs aren’t always easy to meet, but they are uncomplicated.
I know that when they are teenagers, I will long to be able to keep them home and safe. I will wish they would let me hug and kiss and snuggle them.
But I am embracing boyhood with wide open arms. I love what their little bodies and minds can do now, and I can’t wait until they are big enough to ride roller coasters, to read Harry Potter with me, to zip around on their bicycles.
And that might also mean that… dare I say it?… I am done having babies.
I want to be able to enjoy my boys without the sleep fog, the distraction, the “wait until I’m done feeding the baby.”
I may come back here in a year and announce that I’ve changed my mind. But for now? I feel like I’m heading into the best years of our lives: no babies, just two amazing, changing little boys.