Last night, it hit me.
I was getting ready for bed when the cradle taking up all the space between my side of the bed and the wall caught my eye. No longer in use by Little Dude, it was slowly filling with random clothes and blankets.
"I should take that apart and bring it back to the in-laws." I mused. (It belongs to them. They lend it out for each new grandbaby in the family.) "It'd be nice to have that space back after so many years of having to climb into bed from the foot of the bed."
And then it hit me.
That cradle will never rock another tiny newborn at my bedside. It will be the first of many baby items and paraphanalia that will slowly make their way out of my house. For good.
No more babies.
For over seven years now, my life has been about babies. I've either been pregnant or had a baby to take care of. For over seven years, my house has been arranged with modifications for bulky baby gear, sippy cups, and the storage of jumbo boxes of diapers.
I love babies. I love how their fuzzy (or bald in Princess's case) heads smell so good and are so soft after a bath, and I love all the baby gear, the simple baby toys, the tiny baby clothes, the soft baby blankets that always seem to multiply. I love the soft squishiness of baby snuggles and the absolute innocence in their eyes when they stare up at you.
Each one of Little Dude's "firsts" will be my last "first." I probably won't even realize when the "lasts" will be until they're long gone. When Star and Little Dude outgrow their clothes, they won't be packed up in a box, ready to be unpacked for the next one. The bouncy seat, the infant swing, the jumperoo...they will be passed on to someone else who is just entering or re-entering this stage of life and this time, I won't ask that the things be returned when they're finished with them.
I'm ready to move on to the next stage of life where my life doesn't revolve around diaper bags, feedings, and naps, but I'm still going to miss this. I'm really really going to miss it.