The Beginning of the End

I’ve always worn my children. Babywearing, the act of wearing your child in some from of a child carrier, has always been a part of my parenting. I have owned many various carriers over the years from pouch slings to ring slings to mei tais to structured carriers. I have loved most of them for different reasons, each of them serving a varied purpose as the boys have grown. I have sold some as the boys outgrew the purpose. I have kept others, the ones that still work for us and, of course, one or two as keepsakes. Maybe I’ll pass them on someday so that my grandchildren can be worn. Perhaps I will wear my grandchildren as my mother has done.

LittleBrother is twenty-one months old. I didn’t wear BigBrother much at all after he turned two, his personality demanding to be put down, to run and jump and otherwise be free from the constraints of mommy and her carriers. I was surprised when I asked LittleBrother if he would like to ride and he gave me a happy little, “Yes.” I also experienced the easiest back carry I have ever accomplished. Why? I asked him to stand on the bed… and he did. I tossed the straps out on either side of him across the bed, lifted him onto my back and pulled the straps up over our shoulders. BigBrother was never still enough to do such a thing. Had I asked him to stand on the bed, he would have done so ever-so-briefly before launching into a jumping spree. These children are so different.

We took a fall walk. Of course, it’s not quite fall yet but the temperatures in the area are cool and crisp for the moment. We wore long pants, the sounds of BigBrother’s active pant-legs swooshing against each other as he ran in front of us. I was worried that with BigBrother walking, LittleBrother would want down to run beside the boy he would attempt to climb mountains just to follow, to be near. I was happily surprised when he was content for the entire walk. Every now and again he would put his head down on my back just as he did when he was younger. My heart would soar and plummet all in the same brief second.

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I know these days are limited. As he continues to grow, I will lose the ability to carry him for a mile and a half or more. BigBrother is already too heavy for me to carry him on my back for such a length (though he did ask once to have a ride on our walk yesterday). Furthermore, I fear that in the very near future he will want to run and jump and play instead of hang out on my back. I will let him, of course. The desire for him to grow and learn will surpass my desire to keep him so close to me. But I’ll mourn a bit for the days gone by.

I am thankful that I have so many pictures with the boys in various slings and carriers. Front carries, back carries, nursing in a carrier. I am thankful that I’ve been able to wear them this long, one of their durations meshing with the follower for four continuous years of babywearing. I am thankful for strong, durable carriers that have passed the test of time and toddlers and car doors and teething and mud puddles and washing machines. I am thankful for little heads on my back, little fingers on my shoulders.

Back Carry

As we enter what is likely our last season of babywearing, I predict many a fall walk. We may get a walk or two in the winter with him cuddled closely in our Peekaru vest. By next Spring, however, he’ll likely be too busy to hang out on my back. Who wants to ride when you can run anyway? I will treasure these next few months. I am hopeful that we’ll take more pictures and make more memories in the process. As my babywearing days begin to end, I look to the future and pray that something will keep us as close as the feeling of having a little head rest upon my back during a lovely walk. If not physically, in our hearts, souls and minds.

 

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Our Last Weekend of “Summer”

The last weekend of our summer is suddenly upon us. It seems as if we were just returning from vacation, trying to return to our normal summer routine. Now we’re about to have to change it all up again as we head into another year of preschool and the chaos that fall, the holidays and winter bring upon us.

I’ll be honest: summer is not my favorite season. This summer, however, has been a dream for me. The hot-hot days were few and far between. We did deal with the humidity, of course, though its presence allowed me to get back in touch with the natural state of my hair. (A post about embracing my curls is forthcoming.) I didn’t mind this summer. Probably because I wasn’t hugely pregnant.

The summer went far too fast, even for my summer-loathing self. I’m suddenly sad that our days of water gun battles are almost done for the year. True, there will likely be a few more warm days left in the year. True, we can always soak each other as we run through our backyard next year and in the years to come. But as the warmer days end, never again will I have a three and a half year old being chased by a one and a half year old, squeals of their still high-pitched laughter floating on the evening sunlit breeze. In fact, by next year, they probably won’t even call them water “gums” anymore. They’ll be water guns; gums a distant memory that they’ll hate for me to share with future girlfriends over formal holiday dinners.

I remember, as a child, adults telling me that, as I grew, the summers and the years themselves would fly by, faster and faster. I remember thinking that these adults were just waxing poetic, attempting to throw themselves a pity party for being “old”. I now realize that those adults were my age or even younger and I called them old. I now realize that they weren’t just trying to scare me into enjoying my summer, even when I was bored. Time does pass all too quickly when you’re chasing bitty-legs through the yard and finding sippy cups under the slide and washing spider webs off of playhouses and bandaging scraped knees and sitting in the ER and driving twelve hours (one way) and rescuing them from big waves and reminding them to eat their vegetables and putting them in bed even before the sun goes down despite their cries that it’s “still light outside” and cleaning up ice cream drips and laughing and sitting in sun beams and being generally exhausted. And more, of course. The time does go too quickly.

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It’s not even that I’m sad that fall is right upon us, the high temperature for Monday in the area set to be a balmy 68 degrees. (I’m making homemade chicken noodle soup. Who’s coming?) I love fall! But, even though the hot temperatures make me grumpy, I loved watching my boys love summer this year. While they’ll love summer next year, unless they’re like me, they won’t love summer in the ways that they loved it this year. It will be a different kind of love. It will be just as pure, just as sincere. But it will be different.

As this summer becomes nothing more than a memory (and mostly mine as they are still quiet young), I hope I have memorized it enough. The way their laughter sounds as it echoes on a walk through the trees. The way their eyes sparkle as the ocean bounces the light off of them. The way their voices sound as they say, “One more time!” The way my heart swells with love and a million other emotions as they give each other goodnight hugs in their summer time jammies, wishing each other a goodnight. The way they helped to measure things for the new deck, amazed that the measuring tape went right back inside. Will they be amazed with things next summer? Who will they be next summer?

Measuring

I guess we’ll find out. Onto fall! I wonder what awaits us there…