Motherhood Monday: Time Goes On / by Donna Olivia Owusu-Ansah

When did this happen?

When did my baby, our Big Girl, grow up? She was just a baby hanging out in her crib. (For the record, she never slept there. Never ever. She went from sleeping in the Rock and Play, on me as she nursed, and with us to her toddler bed just before her sister arrived.)

In May, when my sister, aka Auntie Ladybug, visited for Big Girl's 5th birthday bowling bash, she joked that Big Girl was too tall for her toddler bed. Nah. Not possible. We laughed it off. In October, Auntie Ladybug happened to see a beautiful bunk bed with stairs and drawers and texted the picture. Nope. She's fine. We'll consider a bigger bed when it is time. She brought it up again when she visited a few days before Christmas. You know how older sisters can be. The joking ceased. "She is fine" I griped. I am her mother. She doesn't need a new bed yet. 

Well, a few days after Christmas we were cleaning out the girls' closet, organizing clothes. Baby Girl was worn out from the work and ditched us to go play. Big Girl continued the sorting: Keep for Baby Girl, Donate, Trash. At one point, she got tired and laid down on her bed. And that's when it hit me. Big Girl--my first baby--was too tall for the bed. Her head touching the headboard. Her feet grazing the end of the bed. My sister was right. I shared this with hubby, who went into denial mode as I did the first time, until he saw it for himself that night. When did this happen? She was just a baby hanging out in her crib. Remember, she never slept there. 

Eight months old and standing up. 

Eight months old and standing up. 

 

Fast Forward: After internet searches and many hours in furniture stores, we settled on a beautiful blue twin bed. We ordered it and awaited it's delivery as Big Girl continued to sleep in the fetal position on her toddler bed. This past Friday, the bed arrived. When Big Girl came home from school and saw her rearranged room to house her true Big Girl bed, she was ecstatic. I've never seen her so happy before. It didn't hurt that her favorite Disney Princesses were covering the bed and hung above the headboard (Nice touch, #reverendmotherrunner).

The moment she had been waiting for. 

The moment she had been waiting for. 

After the usual nighttime rituals, we put the girls to bed. It was different. Besides the obvious that the room was arranged differently, it was clear to hubby and I that this night marked a shift in our lives. Big Girl, while still a child needing us to provide love, support, resources and guidance, is not a baby anymore. That toddler bed was the last of the vestiges of her babyhood we were clutching tightly to. As we left the room, hubby remarked, "Our baby is growing up. I can't believe it." 

Big Girl one week before the bed swap.

Big Girl one week before the bed swap.

 

The bed swap also stirred something deep within me that had little to do with Big Girl and more to do with me. I've been having a tough time in recent months. I'm not the only one. A lot of people I know are struggling in one area of life or another. That bed, the place where Big Girl refused to sleep, was for me a symbol of inadequacy and struggle as a new mom, great with books and words and big people, in an environment without my village around for support trying to figure out this whole motherhood thing. And it was going. It was a reminder that tough times don't last always. It was a reminder that time goes on. It was a reminder that we grow and expand. 

So on this Motherhood Monday, I thank God for our girls, the ability to witness them grow, and the lessons gleaned in the process. I thank God for my own struggle and growth. And, I also thank God that for some reason, Baby Girl is gleefully excited about receiving all of her sister's hand-me downs and that she joyfully slept in what was her sister's toddler bed. And because she is who she is, Baby Girl is already making plans for when her sister needs a new bed and she'll get the blue twin bed.