My youngest turned five on Monday. I can hardly believe that our baby-est baby has already reached this age. I have known it was coming, but somehow it still shocked me when I realized the night before that this was it–our preschool phase was ending. In just one short summer, she will leap from mama’s sidekick to ecstatic kindergartner, and then I will have to re-learn my life.
Twelve years. For twelve years we have had a baby at home. And now we will send all three out there, out into the big world of learning and growing and school lessons and life lessons. And me, at home. Learning, too.
Every time a big milestone shows up in our family’s life, I remember that these days of raising kids are short. This family situation we have going–it’s temporary. And, every Christmas night, when I sit on the couch and cry because another year is over, on every night before the first day of school when I sit on the couch and cry because another year is coming, and on this past Sunday night when I sat on the couch and cried because our youngest isn’t a baby anymore, I remember something else. I remember that my one human constant, through all the change, all the growth, all the memory-making and tear-shedding is Chad Edgington.
Someday they will all be gone, making families of their own. And, God willing, Chad and I will still be here, still a family, still choosing each other every day, still grateful for the great love we share, still seeking to love each other well and know each other more.
Whatever we do, we cannot let these glorious, temporary child-raising years let us lose sight of the fact that we two will remain in the end. If we get lost in the wilds of parenting, how will we ever find each other again? It will get harder and harder with every wandering year that passes by. But, if we brave all of the terrain changes together, if we view our entire life, every phase and every trial, as an adventure that we set out on hand in hand, then how can the kid years separate us? In the end they will only give us more to laugh about, more to get misty-eyed about, more to get excited about.
If lately you have barely noticed your spouse, if you have fallen into a routine that makes you more roommates than lifemates, if you find yourself remembering less and less often why you ever fell in love, stop to recognize that this relationship deserves your attention. The children need a whole lot of you. But, your spouse needs more. Dig deep, and give and give and give. Submit yourselves to one another, and know that when your family scatters in a few years, the one person who will still be there deserves your investment of time, thought, and love.
This article originally appeared at Your Mom Has a Blog.