Making Peace with the Middle

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I have always been one of those “can’t wait for the next thing” type of people. I couldn’t wait to graduate. I couldn’t wait to get married. Then…you guessed it. I couldn’t wait to become a mom. My husband and I had a wonderful whirlwind relationship where within just a few years we met, were married, and became parents. Soon after that, we moved, renovated, and had another baby (and moved into our newly renovated place on the same weekend, actually. That was NOT planned, and I don’t recommend it).

The last few years of raising toddlers and adjusting to being in a new grade level at work have been an exciting yet exhausting one. I finally feel like I have some reprieve. We are not having any more children, and I am very happy in my career. We would love to move again one day, but not anytime soon.  We have finally gotten to the point where things are slowing down a bit. And while it’s a relief in some aspects, I have also been hit with the realization that I’m now in a place where those big milestone moments won’t be as often. The things I have always hoped for have come to fruition, and my heart is so thankful. But, I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that feels a bit sad that those significant life moments are behind me. I mean, now what? What do I have to look forward to?

Thankfully, it didn’t take long to see that our lives have transitioned to a really great place. While those milestone moments aren’t happening as frequently, there is such a beautiful melody of movement when you have an idea of what the next day will likely be like. I may not look as put together as I once had, you know, in case I met my future husband that day. Instead, I get to fall asleep next to my best friend every night. I am no longer eagerly awaiting those two pink lines on a pregnancy test, but I am greeted by squeals of excitement when I pick my boys up from daycare. Our life is still full of firsts: first time fitting into that size. First time going all day without an “accident.” First time hearing about a new friend at school. And all the while, I am experiencing milestones daily. Because today is the first of its kind, and also the last, we will never have this day again. Even if the milestone seems small, like going into the mall without a stroller for the first time, or big, like registering my oldest for kindergarten, something is always on the horizon.

This realization is also helping me to slow down and enjoy these seemingly mundane daily moments. When I get caught up in the whirlwind of the chaos that is our day in and day out, I can get overwhelmed easily. The days are long, but goodness those years fly by. It seems as if all at once I am longing for bedtime, yet when I finally slip into bed, I check my Timehop and am consumed by bittersweet feelings of seeing just how much my children have grown in the last year. Two years. Three years. In those times, all I want to do is run into their room and hold them and feel the weight of their bodies in my arms. One day they won’t fit in my arms. I just need to slow down and soak in every moment I am given.

Not every day is a great one. But every day we have an opportunity to take a breath and remember they will never be this little again. I no longer want to spend so much precious time daydreaming about what is to come, while also subconsciously missing out on the daily moments of our story. I want to make peace with slowing down and reveling in the “now.” To take this middle portion (and what I feel is the hardest, yet most teachable portion) of raising babies and full-time jobs and the holding-hands-when-we’re-able to part of life and embrace all the messes, challenges, and mini-milestones I am lucky enough to experience every day. I’m pretty confident it is in this time that we become who we are really meant to be. Let us linger on the story we are weaving daily.