My husband and sons first carried up a big chest freezer that is at least 35 years old (I remember it when I was pretty young at my parents' house). The freezer hasn't worked in several years and I have been using it for Christmas present storage (note to self - figure out a new plan this year!) and it needed to go.
Next, they started hauling up multiple crib parts. Since our first two kids were only 18 months apart, we had two cribs. I was never in any hurry to move my kids out of their cribs (I might have been a control freak about that!). Two cribs have lots of parts when disassembled! So my large sons began making treks up and down the stairs carrying the very cribs they had spent the first three years of their lives sleeping in. I was in utilitarian mode - getting rid of stuff feels great and I was super pumped to get all that space free in the back of the storage room.
Until I rounded the corner to grab a load myself and found my husband moving a crib rail with two musical stuffed animal pull toys firmly tied to the top. And I rather lost it. Suddenly I was teary, with absolutely no warning. Obviously I had to pull the tails of the animals and hear the lullabies, making me weep with more fervor. How could my baby years be past already? How could those strapping boys be the same babies who pulled those tails to hear night-night songs? How could those days, which often felt so long, be past tense already? How could my oldest child be leaving the house in 1 1/2 years?
The family years are passing at an alarming speed. Just this morning, my daughter and I were talking about how many children she might have. With heartfelt zeal, I told her how glorious it was for me to be mom to her and her siblings. How when I look at our family pictures, my heart bursts with joy at what God has given us. God has called us to be parents to these five children and I love it. Moments like tonight remind me how much I miss those early years, but moments like the one with my daughter this morning underscore the beauty parenting older children brings as well.
The passage of time and accepting change has never been my strong suit. But after I had my little cry in the basement, I came upstairs and within minutes was laughing with a teenager, talking in a goofy accent and discussing the etiquette of opposite-gender texting. And in a few minutes I'm going to play a game with a grade-schooler, and then tell them all to shower (on their own) and say prayers and give blessings and kiss them all good night.
While it's not quite the same as tucking babies into cribs, it's equally awesome.