There we were in his bedroom, rearranging furniture and making room for the big boy bed. I could not believe that this day had come and yet I knew it was time. We moved the crib to the corner of his room, and pushed the rocker aside. I stared at that bed, that bed that surely he would look so small in.
He came bounding up the stairs a ball of excitement. “Can I see my bed? Can I help ?” So we put the new Toy Story sheets on and carefully arranged his covers.
“Mom, I need all my crib friends”, he said. As he pulled his stuffies one by one from the crib. “And some new friends” he said as he ran downstairs to get more stuffed animals.
And the hubs and I stared at each other in disbelief. Was this really happening? Was our little guy who was so reluctant to leave his crib just a few months ago, now excited for his big boy bed.
It was time. And time always has a way of coming too quickly or sneaking up on you unexpectedly. It taps you on the shoulder and shows you all the ways it has changed things.
John glanced at the babyish cars and boats that hung above the bed. “Those look so out of place with the big boy bed”, he said.
I agreed, picking up his Monsters Inc wall art, “I had thought we would put this over the bed”.
And in the span of that sentence, the pictures were down and the last bits of babyhood had been swept away.
And I thought of all the times I had watched him sleep, in that crib and how I had carefully picked out all the details of that room. The little nautical theme that I loved.
I thought of when we lowered the crib and I could barely reach to get him out. I thought of that night he fell out and how I wasn’t ready to let go of the crib. I thought about how he slept in that crib for 2 more years than I thought he would.
I felt the way my arms ached as I lifted him in and out each day. I felt so safe knowing he was secure and comfortable in his crib. And he felt safe there too. I remembered him telling me he loved his crib and I remembered the night we tried to convert it only having to put it back together because he cried so much. I thought about how he doesn’t like change and wondered how the night would be.
Jack bounded back into the room with a new pile of friends and I watched as he carefully arranged them along the bed. And I remembered when he didn’t sleep with stuffed animals or a pillow or even his blankie. When he was just a little guy swaddled up with his fist next to is face.
“Mom, I need my nightstand so I can put water on it and my noise machine”. I moved the nightstand and plugged in the noise machine and remembered that some small things stay the same. That the noise machine that soothed my colicky infant was still a comfort nearly 4 years later.
We settled onto his bed for story time. I glanced at the rocker, well worn from long nights when he was a baby and well loved as our usual story time seat, well I guess you are next to go old friend.
And with that one chapter of bedtime routine came to a close and another began. And I realize now that this morning I didn’t think it would be my last morning taking him out of the crib and last night I didn’t realize it would be the last time I tucked him into his crib. That something I had done hundreds of times was now so abruptly over.
And I want to remember this moment, when he goes off to college or moves away. This little transition. I want to remember that I was sad but not so sad. I want to remember the way John worried about him falling out of bed. I want to remember his excitement and pride. I want to remember that he didn’t look so little in that bed, that he was so much more grown up than I realized. I want to remember that it all goes so fast and that time will again sneak up on me. I want to remember that he was once so little and is now so big.