I needed to take a few pictures of the last time she slept in this crib. I needed to remember exactly what it looked like. Millions of stuffed animals, her two soft pink lovie blankets, and that sweet pink pillowcase. This crib will be occupied by another little one before too long, but for one last moment, I needed to remember when it was hers.
Shawn started the process of taking the front of the crib off and I felt the resistance build in me. I wanted to tell him to stop. I wanted to change my mind. She is my baby...how can she be ready for a big girl bed? The better question would be, how can I be ready for her to be in a big girl bed? How do you prepare your heart for letting your little one grow up? How can something as precious as being a mother hurt your heart so much? And even though the pain is unbearable at times, how can it be the the sweetest pain you've ever known?
When I look at this sweet face I feel overwhelmed with love. I feel overwhelmed by the huge responsibility I have to her. I feel more blessed than I could ever deserve. I feel complete joy.
When it was time for bed, we followed our normal bedtime routine. We brushed teeth, read stories, sang songs, and prayed. And then, my big girl crawled down from my lap in our rocking chair and climbed into her own bed. I was torn between feeling so utterly proud of her and being completely broken that we were experiencing this milestone. I tucked her in and gave her extra hugs and kisses and said my own prayers over that bed and that girl who has my heart. And she was fine. She was brave. She was stronger than me and my held back tears. She was growing up right in front of my eyes.
The most precious part of this whole experience was that me and my baby belly were able to get right down there beside her and give extra butterfly kisses and Eskimo kisses. She held my head in her hands and I broke into a million pieces on the inside. As I turned out the light, told her I loved her for the hundredth time, and closed her door I knew this was a special moment for us. One I never want to forget. One I will always cherish even when all I want to say is, "Oh darling, don't you ever grow up, just stay this little."