Passionate About Fort Worth
and the Moms Who Live Here

The Seasons of Childhood as Mourned by Mothers

On the eve of introducing solid foods to my youngest (who I thought would be my last baby), I found myself surprisingly weepy. For a couple of days, every time I sat down to nurse her, I would cry. I recognized this as grief; a unique chapter in my life was ending. My baby and I had been a team, and we’d come a long way together. Once I introduced solid foods, I would no longer be her sole lifeline. This “grief” was surprising and irrational, but there it was, and I let it wash over me. I nursed, cried, and held my baby close. After a couple days, the sadness lifted. I was ready to introduce solid foods; I even did so with enthusiasm. My baby moved on to a whole new world of food possibilities; things were as they needed to be.

There’s a sweet, sappy country song I like by Patty Loveless, called “How Can I Help You to Say Goodbye?” A mother guides her daughter through loss and change over the course of her life, as the daughter says goodbye to her best friend, a lover, and the mother herself. At each goodbye, the mother reassures:

time will ease your pain

life’s about change

nothing ever stays the same

how can I help you

to say goodbye?

it’s OK to hurt

and it’s OK to cry

come let me hold you

and I will try

how can I help you

to say goodbye?”

I’m 36 weeks pregnant as I write this, and in a way, I’m “saying goodbye” to another special chapter in life. As excited as I am about going from a family of four to a family of five, I’ve loved my family of four just as it is. I know everything is going to change, and it will never again be like it is. There’s uncertainty. What will she look like? Who will she be? How will this affect my marriage? Will it alter my daughters’ relationship when we add another sister to the mix? How so?

Life’s about change

nothing ever stays the same

I also believe that soon, we’ll look at this baby and be unable to imagine life without her. My husband and I’s relationship — and that of our daughters — will grow in ways more wonderful than I can imagine.

Regardless of what happens, the world will keep spinning and revolving. The days and nights will take turns, the seasons will shift, and we’ll all keep growing and changing.

As moms, we’re immersed in change that is constant, gradual, and unrelenting. Especially with multiple children at different stages of development, the firsts and lasts never cease. They overlap. It’s a lot to process.

For example, the baby nurses for the last time and takes her first steps within days. The toddler must be moved ASAP to a different bed because she’s climbing out of her crib and might break her neck. The oldest pedals her bike down the sidewalk for the first time. It dawns on you that you haven’t heard that sweet phrase your preschooler used to say in several months — it’s probably disappeared from her vocabulary. You’re going to miss it. That doesn’t even take into consideration changes related to marriage, work, extended family, and the unexpected: illness, accidents, etc.

Life’s about change

nothing ever stays the same 

I think it’s a tall order to 1) be fully present in this season of motherhood and 2) gracefully accept change when a season ends and a new one begins; and yet, that’s exactly what I want to be capable of doing. I want to enjoy each season so I can both look back fondly and move into the next season without regret.

Between seasons, you might find me a bit weepy, as I glance back at how far I’ve traveled and consider where to go from here. Or, you might find me laughing, writing in my journal, or seeking out someone who can “help me say goodbye” to an aspect of my life that isn’t easy to release.

Life is about change, and sometimes that’s hard, but really, there’s also great beauty in change. I want to make room for new life, whatever that looks like, in every season. 

P.S. Baby Girl: I’m really, really looking forward to meeting you. We all are. I hope to see you soon. 

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2 Responses to The Seasons of Childhood as Mourned by Mothers

  1. Tiffany
    Tiffany January 31, 2016 at 7:07 am #

    Oh that Patty Loveless song…came out when I was in college, and it gets me every time! Such a sweet post!

    • Karla January 31, 2016 at 10:47 am #

      Thank you, sweet lady! I know, it’s such a good song. I think I will blast it today…and weep, of course. 🙂

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