When we were brand new parents, Ty told me that he always considered “seven” to be the number. THE number.
When you’ve been married seven years, you’re pretty experienced. You’re out of the honeymoon phase and you’re into real life. You’ve been through a lot together already. You can now dole out advice.
If you have kids who are seven, you have been parents for a while. You did the whole bottles and diapers stage, you’ve been through toddlerhood, and you’re even into elementary school. You’re legit. You also are allowed to advise.
Well, it happened.
A couple weeks ago, we became the parents to a seven-year-old.
If you remember, birthdays make me super emotional. I get irrational and dramatic – “Six years old is one third of the way to leaving us….waaaaahhhh!” Ty holds me every six months when our children reach a new birthday. The problem is that I have two kids – one always reaching new birthdays and one always reaching last birthdays (“How can we have a 6-year-old already?”, “We will never have a 4-year old again!!”) so every one sets me off.
Except this year.
This year, I am excited!
I didn’t even cry, you guys. Not even once.
Well, okay, I did get a little choked up. ONLY ONE TIME. Since his birthday is the day after mine, we stayed up until midnight together when it changed from my birthday to his. We were playing LIFE together when it turned midnight and I coughed a quick little cough of emotion and it was over. He was so excited, with his big missing tooth/loose tooth grin, that I just couldn’t even be sad.
In my last post, I was talking about having babies, and this time, I’m talking about those babies growing up.
You guys, we’re there. We made it!
We’re out of toddlerhood and planted firmly in kidhood. We have kids with distinct personalities, hilarious wit, clever ideas, and individual preferences. They chat about stuff with us. They are fun to hang out with (most of the time). We can play board games to completion. When we take trips, they carry their own luggage.
THEY SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT!!!!
From the newly legit parent: when you are finally able to come up for air, it’s freakin’ awesome up here!
Babies are so precious. So sweet. And so hard. Toddlers are decidedly less sweet, but still precious. And in a lot of ways, even more work.
And I’ll be honest, even out of toddlerhood, there’s a lot of teaching that happens. But there’s less physical work. You’re not so worried about choking, falling down the stairs, hitting the corner of the coffee table. You don’t need childproof locks anymore.
Now I worry about broken bones and road rash, but that’s beside the point.
They’re so fun! Dinner isn’t all about learning to use a fork. Now it’s jokes and stories and bonding (with a few reminders to chew with your mouth closed). Time in the car isn’t filled with irritating kids songs – we like the same music now (praise Jesus!). The books we read aren’t about shapes and colors anymore. We read books about interesting things.
These kids are my JAM.
You know what else? I keep hearing from parents who’ve been “legit” for a long time, and they tell me that what is to come is even more amazing.
So all I have to tell you today from just one mom who’s just arrived at THE number:
It gets better.
Sure, I still see pictures of my babies and think that time has moved so quickly, and I miss some things about that time. But I don’t want it back. I love THIS time, and I think I’m going to keep loving it more and more as time goes on.
The consensus is in.
It. Gets. Better!
I can’t even wait.
photo credit: Cacee Crone