We have two “sets” of kids. Our first set consists of our older four kiddos, born in less than a six year span during our first seven years of marriage. Our second set is what we all lovingly refer to as “the babies.” They are just over two years apart. In between those sets of children, there is a big gap. A nine year gap, to be exact!
That gap might just seem like a number or a random interesting fact in the story of our family, but there’s a lot more to the gap. There are things I forgot in the gap, things I took for granted, and things I missed and didn’t even know I was missing.
In the gap, I forgot what sleep deprivation was like. I forgot that special kind of tired that has you nodding off in the bath tub and has your brain so exhausted that you can’t form complete sentences or read anything with any kind of retention. I forgot the smell of baby puke on everything and how to pack a really great diaper bag. My memory of the sometimes constant crying was very foggy.
I took for granted the simple joy of going to bed whenever I wanted. I didn’t appreciate the ease of deciding to leave the house, shouting “let’s go!” or “be back soon!” and then actually being able to walk out the door. I was spoiled by the freedom of having my body all to myself, peeing in peace anytime I wanted to, and not having to either share or hide what I’m eating. I hit the gym, fit into my skinny clothes, and even ran in actual races during the gap.
In the gap, I didn’t realize what I was missing. I missed the smell of a baby’s head and their perfectly soft skin. The way they snuggle right up against your neck and you can feel their breath. I missed the gummy, drooly smiles that fill their whole face and how they’re never disappointed in you. Man, I missed the tiny socks and diapers and those cute baby buns after the bath. I missed staring at those perfect little sleeping faces and wondering if they’re dreaming. Dreaming for their future and wondering who they will be. The little grunts and sighs and coos. Getting excited about a tiny person rolling over or grabbing a toy for the first time. All the little things.
The gap has been a blessing and a reminder of how precious these moments and days and years are. With our oldest almost ready to leave the nest and fly, and three more right behind her, I know it’s best to try and soak up these sleep deprived, puke filled, crying, drooling, belly laugh days as much as I can. And I will. As soon as I get some sleep. Zzzzzzzz…….