We just took apart the baby crib.
The disassembling of this piece of furniture marked the end of an era in the Feldkamp house: no more itty-bitty babies.
We’ve had a crib in our house for a decade. A decade. That’s longer than the amount of time we spent in high school and college combined.
I remember purchasing the crib 10 years ago. It was summertime, and I was glowing as my baby bump was growing. The crib was a simple, traditional design in a dark espresso wood tone. We didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl, but we felt this style was classic enough to work for a boy while being elegant enough if we had a girl, too.
I was beyond excited for the arrival of our first baby. I remember watching as my husband assembled the crib in the little nursery in our charming 1948 white brick house in Lynchburg, Virginia. I was ready to be a mom. I dreamed of what our baby would be – a boy? A girl? Long and skinny or short and chubby? Would he or she be bald or have a head full of hair?
We welcomed our little baby – a bald, long, skinny, healthy boy named Benjamin – on a crisp Halloween morning in 2011. When the tiny, crying human was placed on my chest in that delivery room, my heart swelled. I had no idea I was capable of such an immediate, beautiful, intense, unconditional love.
Our little Benjamin wouldn’t sleep in that crib for several months, but when he did, the crib seemed to swallow him. He was tiny; the crib was huge. Surely this would be his bed forever.
Fast forward 10 years and three more children later, and the crib suddenly seemed too small for the fourth and final baby – loud, little Lucas – when we finally took it apart on a humid Sunday in October 2021.
As he was removing the front of the crib, my husband looked at me. “Are you okay?” he asked, taking apart the sides.
I cried a little as I swallowed the lump that suddenly appeared in my throat. What was this emotion? How do you explain it? That sadness of knowing I’ll never carry another baby in my belly, we’ll never put another baby of our own to sleep in this crib.
That chapter of our life – the one of pregnancies and newborn babies and sleepless nights and cribs – is over. It was a beautiful, exhausting chapter. Part of me is sad to see it go.
But I’m also excited about this new chapter, too. This phase doesn’t include diapers or cribs or breastfeeding or nighttime feedings. It’s the chapter of little voices answering questions and sharing stories and whispering “I love you, too, mommy” as they hug me tight at bedtime. It’s the chapter of growth and learning and more independence and adventures. We don’t have tiny babies anymore. We have little people, with their own unique personalities and ideas and opinions. And this stage is pretty great, too.
I think that’s the hard part of parenting, this constant push/pull of wanting to let go, but wanting to hold tight at the same time. Of being sad about what’s over, but being excited about what’s to come.
Did I savor it enough? Did I really realize how lucky I was to have babies to snuggle? Did I rock them enough, squeeze them enough, love them enough? Some days it was more about surviving – surviving the colic and the cries and the constant needs of four children in six years – but it has all been such an adventure— a fast, furious decade.
In those moments, on those hard days— and sometimes, even on the good ones— did I realize how true it was, that famous saying that the days are long, but the years are short?
Oh, there’s so much truth in that!
The room that once held a baby and a toddler now holds two twin beds for two awesome little boys. Sure, there are still baby blankets and a gazillion stuffed animals on these beds, signs that little ones sleep here, but it is a big change when I walk into the room. The room is tangible proof we’ve entered the next phase. It’s an instant, visual reminder that time keeps moving forward, whether I’m ready for it or not.