And just like that it happened. I have four semi- self-sufficient kiddos. There are no more nights rocking back to sleep or times when they just want to hold me. My three year old sometimes asks for hugs and it’s the ritual to hug and kiss 5 times before laying down for nap. But it’s different. So very, very different. 

I remember the days when I prayed they would sleep through the night. When I rejoiced if they didn’t wake at 3am to eat or cry at 5 because they needed to be changed. It went so fast. The days were so long and consuming that I couldn’t see past them. But now, they are a memory and something that I wish would return. 
Not because I liked getting up at 3am or because I enjoyed the restless nights. But because I knew my role so very, very well. I am GOOD at babies. Like really, really good. It comes naturally. I like figuring out what is wrong when communication is simply cries. I can sing a baby to sleep in no time. I spent many a night pacing and holding. I knew how to fix almost every wrong and how to make life work. 

Kids are NOT the same as babies. Not even the same as toddlers. They have thoughts and ideas of their own and make choices that sometimes I don’t approve of. 

They are messy. I thought a 2 year old could destroy a room- they have NOTHING on my 6 and 7 year old boys. They are destructive! 

They are complicated. Figuring out how life works is hard- ask any 9 year old. One minute it’s adulthood they desire and the next they act like they’re two. 

They are LOUD. Not in the cute way that babies are- in the annoying, high pitched, whine until I get my way (or get punished in my house) it’s not fair, he touched me, that’s MY toy- way. 

They are inquisitive. Why do we have to go here? How do you spell motorcycle? Why can’t I have candy for snack? How come Johnny gets an led fidget spinner and you just got me this plain one? How many more minutes until we get home? Can I stay up late tonight? Can I have a cupcake? Why do you want to go to the bathroom alone? 

For me, they require so much, much more. At any given time I have four voices asking four different questions. It’s no longer adequate to simply feed, change and clothe them. Now I have to worry about multiplication and book reports along with the tooth fairy and emotions. So many many emotions. And not just from the Girl, either! My boys feel deeply and to their core. Tears are many and often, but they don’t require just a hug and a kiss. They now require lessons on social norms and proper play technique. Sometimes they require hard conversations about how words can hurt just as much as fists. Sometimes they require mopping up blood and patching elbows. Sometimes they simply need sleep and less sugar. 

This new journey I am on is wonderful. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But I find myself less equipped every day for these challenges. These four blessings sometimes take every ounce of patience I have. Sometimes it’s gone before 10am. Some days are easy- everyone plays well and kindness abounds. Other days require time outs, apologies, punishments and loss of privileges. Some days are rewards and exploring new places. Every day is an adventure. 

I am learning, right along side them. Someone once told me, maybe it’s not what is placed in your life but who is placed in your life to mold you into who God wants you to be. These four are molding me in so many ways. 

I am so very honored to be living this life with these four little hearts I’ve been entrusted with. They have driven me to my knees more than I can count. I want to be the example that they need to follow. I will mess up. Always. I will never be perfect. But my desire is to point them to the one who will NEVER fail them, never leave them, never disappoint them. I pray that in the mess of arguments, scraped knees, blame placing and sibling punching, they learn the only lesson that matters. 
He is everything and without Him, we are nothing

It’s a whole new chapter that I’m trying to embrace with open arms. Though, if anyone knows of a newborn that needs a babysitter… feel free to pass them my number 😉