*I found this in a draft folder on my computer. I wrote this in 2007 when Emily was 3 1/2 and Ella was only 7 months old. Someone pass the kleenex.
At the beginning of the process, I would have never thought that I would miss the potty training stage. After all, potty training is just not fun. For six months, I found myself changing wet clothes (or worse) several times a day. My husband and I had to plan all road trips around clean, public restrooms. I would be tense every morning driving to preschool worrying that I would not make it there in time. There was one part of the process, however, that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Emily had successfully transitioned from diapers to pull-ups to panties, but she could not quite make it through the night. So, I would go into her room after she had been asleep for a few hours and carry her into the bathroom. As I carried her, she would still be asleep and she would bury her head in my neck. When I carried her like that, I could still convince myself that she was just a baby. After she went potty, I would pick her back up and carry her back into her bedroom. I would tuck her in and kiss her cheek. The whole trip would take less than five minutes and she would never even open her eyes, but I loved doing it.
Then, one day, I fell asleep early and she slept all night without having an accident. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, she didn’t need me to take her in the middle of the night anymore. She was perfectly capable of sleeping until morning without a late night trip. Or, if she did need to use the restroom, she was also perfectly capable of getting up and going by herself. My daughter was officially potty-trained.
Now, obviously, there was a part of me that was extremely proud of this accomplishment. But, there was also a part of me that mourned the passing of that stage. Never again would I change her diaper. There was no longer a need for the sticker chart that I so lovingly created to track her potty successes. Never again would I sit on the edge of the bathtub and sing silly songs to her while she went potty (okay, I still do that.) I had to say good-bye to baby Emily. I could no longer tell people that I had a toddler. I had some how become the mother of a preschooler.
God is good, however. With the passing of each precious stage, there is always another exciting one to take its place. Now I find myself in the floor playing Candy Land (over and over again) and sitting at the kitchen table as she writes her ABC’s. I laugh (and sometimes cringe) as she plays “mommy” and I hear her repeating all the things I say to her in the course of a day. My heart smiles as I see her playing with her baby sister and I see the mature girl that she is becoming. There are still moments that I miss the baby she used to be, but I am so grateful for the child she has become.
I struggle with the knowledge that this is what I, as a parent, should want. I should want my children to grow and learn. I should be raising them as if they will have to survive without me one day because they will. I should be teaching them that time passes and things change, so they need to enjoy every moment. I need to teach them that the future is going to be different, but it is also going to be exciting because God is already there.
But, most of all, they need to know that even if they no longer need me to carry them to the potty in the middle of the night they will always be my babies.