Today is my youngest daughter’s fifth birthday. It has been five years since I was pregnant. Four years since I have nursed a baby. Five years since I have held a sleeping infant of my own on my chest, which is the best feeling in the world. It signifies the end of an era. No more kids to potty train. No more Mother’s Day Out programs. No more play dates.
Last fall things changed in our family. I was working full-time for the first time in 13 years. I had a conversation with my close friend. Her youngest was going to kindergarten, and she was looking at having her days open and free, wondering how she was going to fill them. We were both lamenting the fact that it had been weeks since we had seen each other, since we
have sat down and talked while the kids played. “Who knew the preschool years were Camelot?” I commented.
In the preschool days, I carpooled to Mother’s Day Out with friends. And during the drop off, we would sit and chat for an hour or two depending on the day. We would have play dates or swap childcare. We were constantly in and out of each other’s homes. During the preschool years, I went to Bible studies and enjoyed two hours of kid-free adult conversation. I even taught Bible studies. I remember climbing the stairs one morning, very pregnant, asking God to give me the strength and the words for the study I was leading at the time. It wasn’t easy, but I don’t regret it. Looking back, I’m grateful that I took advantage of the opportunities that I had then.
The other day I was driving to work, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for those years. A gratitude I don’t think I felt most days of those years. But that day, I was grateful for my Camelot. For the friendships formed. For the foundation in God’s Word. Because now, in the real world, I need those friendships and that foundation more than ever. I don’t have time for two hour chats over tea and weekly Bible studies at church.
I’m not in Camelot any more. Most week days my only goal is to make it to the end of my day, and the weekends are about getting the house set up for the busy week ahead. My youngest daughter will grow up with a working mom and not a stay-at-home mom like my oldest son knew. This is where God has me now. This is his provision for me and for my family. It is good. It is just as much God’s provision as it was for me to be at home during the early years. We are all still adjusting, but things are going well. I’m sure that when I say good-bye to this era, I will be even more grateful for it than I am today.