Thursday, January 19, 2012

Letting Go of The Crib

This post was first published on my profile at BlogHer.

I was making my usual Mickey Mouse pancakes on a Sunday morning when it happened. I guess I was too distracted by the breakfast commotion to realize what was taking place upstairs. While I was busy attending to the specific requests of each child (milk in a pink princess cup to go with the pink plate for Sophia and orange juice in a Lightening McQueen cup to go with the blue plate for Tallen), Trey was already disassembling the crib in Tallen’s room.

For more than five years, this crib has held my babies. It started out as Sophia’s crib in the smallest bedroom in our house. The first time I got pregnant, I decided to keep the gender a surprise but once my little girl was born we added the girly pink princess bumper and sheets. I was in awe at how tiny Sophia looked curled up in the middle of the crib but she grew so fast. By the time she was two, she filled her crib with so many stuffed animals at night that there was barely any room for her to sleep.

Around that time, I found out I was pregnant again. A big white daybed replaced the black crib in Sophia’s room and we started painting the walls of the spare bedroom blue for our little boy.  Tallen was spoiled as a baby and preferred to sleep next to his mommy but by the time he was 7 months old, he was sleeping in his crib through the night. Instead of a crib full of stuffed animals like his sister, he only needed his "bubby" and blanket.  Now he can only fall asleep when he is lying in the far left corner of the crib and only after I have sang "Jesus Loves Me" to him (sometimes twice).

Tallen is tall for his age and we noticed that he does not have much room when he sleeps crammed into the corner of his crib.  I resisted the obvious solution for months but one Friday night, Trey and I spent the first half of date night trapped in the never-ending maze that is called Ikea.  We emerged about an hour later with several boxes that contained (we hoped) all the pieces of a twin bed and a twin mattress for Tallen.  Since Trey wasn't feeling well on Saturday, the boxes stayed in the car (fine with me).

As I was finishing my breakfast waitress duties on that Sunday morning, Trey came downstairs and asked me where I wanted to store the crib. 

"You already took his crib down?" I asked. "Why didn't you tell me you were getting ready to take it down?  I didn't get to say goodbye!" 

Trey just stood there for a moment, shocked at the panicked look on my face. 

"I didn't know it was such a big deal," he answered.

When it comes to major life changes, even happy ones, I become very emotional.  I cried at both my high school and college graduations.  While I was saying my vows at our wedding, I had to whisper them through my tears.  The night before Sophia's scheduled induction, I wept at the thought of losing the physical connection I had with the baby I carried in my belly for 9 months.

About a year ago, I wiped away tears as I wrote about saying goodbye to my journey to motherhood as I know our family is complete.  That crib was my last connection I had to my babies as babies... and now it was gone.  

A little while later when Trey was busy assembling the "big boy bed" we had bought for Tallen, I stood in the hallway running my hands across the rails of the pieces of the disassembled crib.  I touched the spots of bare wood where Tallen had chewed while teething.  I closed my eyes and remembered the hundreds of times I had leaned over the edge of that crib to place a sleeping baby inside.  Then I said my goodbye and with my eyes filled with tears, I let go... of my babies and the crib.  

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