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I wanted to linger. The fog and haze of the dream was intoxicating. I woke up knowing I did not just visit my son’s real room, but in my dream it was his and he was still small.

The smell of baby surrounded me. The warm snuggle that fills the air when a baby is present wrapped me with its joy. I was with my baby, and my other boys were small. We were together in that under-foot stage. The dream had only the goodness of it; none of that stress-part that used to have my shoulders trying to attach to my ears.

Today is the seventh birthday of my youngest son (pictured above). He is our “bonus round”. He kept us in the little kid stage longer than we originally anticipated. My dream calls forth emotions, nostalgia, and tears. I can’t stop thinking about his big kid front teeth that are gradually replacing the classic toothless grin he had at Christmas. They are signaling that ready or not, our family is moving on.

Truly, we are mostly just fine with this moving on business. We are ready and happy for the next leg of the journey.

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My oldest is in ROTC, a freshman now (above). My middle is close on his heels, waiting for the perfectly timed growth spurt when he will finally pass up his big bro (below).

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I am in grad school, loving my program even if the list of assignments may feel just a tad bit overwhelming from time to time. All of us seem to be looking to the horizon filled with hope and joy.

But this dream brought a moment.

A pause.

A breath.

Time – to acknowledge a goodbye to the sweetness that filled this life stage. To say thank you in and from my heart to the little ones who once filled my home.

Thank you for spending your childhood here, with us, with our family. Our lives are so much more having had you in them. I will carry you in my heart, love you always, and visit you in my dreams.

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