It was a moment I didn’t see coming.
“You are a little engine, but you go so fast.”
Right there, in the middle of a Thomas adventure, I lost it. The tears flowed, and the familiar words I can practically recite in my sleep blurred. My son lifted his head with concern to study my face. I locked eyes with my husband.
“I know,” he whispered.
When you are pregnant, even for the second time, life is one big celebration. The change to come is viewed as exciting and rather straightforward: care for a new, fragile human. They will be your treasure.
But somewhere between 0 and 1, a shift occurs. Even if your child isn’t walking, they slowly begin to shed their baby exterior. Sleep and meals – to everyone’s great relief – become more predictable. And a beautiful personality emerges, which, in many ways, reminds us that our little one is both like us and also their own person.
A classic heartstring tug-of-war begins within, and we parents suddenly realize that the time of letting go is upon us. Of course, our important role is never diminished, but the precious life we once held is now a child who will require boundaries, modeling, and training. And, in this, the awe feels stolen.
The reality, I would argue, only intensifies when you have decided that your family is complete. Truly, it feels like the futility of chasing after a train. Somewhere in the trail of smoke stands the mother in me – left behind.
Recent days in our home have been spent among boxed clothing to donate and share with friends. The kids, as we all learn through our own stories, are changing. That is, after all, the goal.
And yet, the tenderness of this moment challenges me to evolve with each tiny, fleeting season. I may not be able to board the train or arrive at the destination, but I can equip my children for the journey.
And – in between those necessary doors that will one day close – their eyes will whisper, “I know”.