I was at the grocery store the other day with my four boys – who all happen to be 2 1/2 years apart from each other. The lady at the checkout was kind and friendly and was inquisitive about our family. After surveying the ages of the boys she joked, “Looks like its time for another one!”

Her comment (unbeknownst to her) had interesting timing as someone just days earlier had said the same thing. I joked back with each of the commenters – I’ve already got my hands full!

But then I started thinking – this is the first time I’ve had a 2 1/2 year old and not had a baby. (or have been really pregnant – there’s a slightly larger gap between Hallie and Hunter). I hadn’t thought anything of it until their comments, but we are really entering a new stage. Briggs grows out of clothes and I don’t save them – they get donated. We’ve cleared out all the baby toys and even some of the other toys he doesn’t show interest in. With each stage he grows out of – we get rid of more and more gear – gear we’ve had for years and years. He’s the first kid we haven’t had to kick out of the crib – we can keep him in it until he’s 5! 😉

But what’s interesting is those baby memories are still really close to the surface. I think I’ve had babies on the brain since my sister told us last weekend that she’s having a girl (after two boys).

As I was getting ready this morning with my bedroom door shut, I heard what sounded like a newborn cry. And for a minute, I was panicked thinking I didn’t get ready before the baby got up…and then I realized, I don’t have a baby!  When I saw the lady in church holding her sleeping baby as she thumbed through a notebook I could feel my own arm going numb from her awkward position. I could feel the weight of the car seat as a dad held it in the crook of his arm. There are so many relatable moments. I’ve been there. I’ve felt the fatigue and frustration that comes along with babies and I want to give a hug to every mother and father I see juggling a baby. You’re doing an extremely exhausting and yet rewarding work.

Some of my early motherhood days seemed so long and the thought of being out of the baby stage seemed incomprehensible. And yet here I am with a talking toddler and I have to say I’m quite enjoying it. Each stage is better than the last.