Bittersweet birthday and bye bye to babies

The parenting bubble is so real, it’s scary. Life is all diapers and late night wellness checks and climbing the staircase of healthy child development. Then one day your babies aren’t babies. What is a parent to do in a post-baby existence?

Of course the point of parenting is to raise functional adults. And raising young children is an arduous task. The sad irony is that we become so consumed with the job in hand of parenting that we forget to enjoy the ride.

Today we celebrated our youngest son’s 4th birthday. He’s our baby who is a baby no more. So now, for the first time in a decade, I must wrap my brain around the fact that I do not have a baby, I just have kids.

This is great. But this is also bittersweet. Letting go is hard. If I do my job as dad well, then my kids need me a little less each day.

But maybe not.

I think about my own relationship with my parents. I’ve been on my own for nearly two decades yet in a way I rely on them more than ever. They watch my kids, they play an integral role in raising them. They give me life advice. They give me the security of just being there as my family. Maybe we never really lose our babies.

I’m so proud of my kids. They are three, uniquely individual people. And every day they are growing. The sadness that I feel for the loss of an era is easily replaced by the strength of our family. The strength of watching them grow.

I look forward to the day that I have grandchildren to spoil. But even then, my babies will still be babies to me. I will undoubtedly deliver copious amounts of unsolicited advice. I will undoubtedly still lament the passage of time.

I’ve emerged from the parenting bubble and my babies are officially babies no more. This is a natural step in parenthood. But the next step is not one where they won’t need me but rather one where I am needed differently. They are growing and so am I. Happy birthday indeed.