Dear Sadie: Moving Out

Sweet Sadie,

I just can’t believe you are SEVEN months old. Actually, you’re 7.5 months old, but close enough.

And I’ll level with you, kiddo: The last month hasn’t been our easiest with you. At the beginning of February, we moved you down the hall into your own room, into the beautiful crib Grandpa built for you.

When we set you in there that first night, you miraculously went right to sleep. I shuffled down the hall into our room, expecting to relish its new “baby-free” status. Instead, I took one look at the Pack n’ Play next to the bed and burst into tears. Fat, crocodile tears. That collapsible contraption with its plastic mobile of dangling stuffed stars held you for your very first nights in our home. I stared at the empty mattress, which you now occupy completely, remembering how very small you looked in it when we first brought you home. I recalled the many, many times I made the journey of three steps to pick you up and bring into my bed to nurse. I recalled the first time you slept through the night and I woke up in a wild panic. I remembered how sweet it was to fall asleep with your daddy breathing on my left and you on my right, feeling overwhelmed with gratitude that I got to spend every night safely tucked between the two people I love most in the world.

Staring into your empty little bed, you would have thought you’d gone to college. I pictured you down the hall, alone in a big crib in an even bigger room. And I missed you. I missed looking over at your legs, wrapped in a beige sleep sack, flopping around as you woke up. I missed the many grunts and rolls that kept me awake unnecessarily. But mostly, I missed the piece of your babyness that was suddenly gone, forever. I knew I could easily sneak into your bedroom, scoop you up out of your crib, and bring you right back into that Pack n’ Play, in which you were running out of room to move around. I knew we could reverse our decision and let you stay right there next to us, for just a little longer. But that’s not our job.

Baby, you know it’s not really about the crib, right? Moving you down the hallway was just the first of many little moves you’ll make away from me. To tell you the truth, I’d expected that moving you into your room would be a longer process…maybe we’d start with playing in the crib! Then naps! Instead, we ended up with a trial run that took! I never knew that our last night with you in our room (at least on a regular basis) WAS the last night. If I’d known, I would have watched you all night, I think. Someday soon you’ll nurse for the last time ¬†or use your itty-bitty car seat for the last time and I won’t know that it was the last time until I can’t get it back. I will say a million goodbyes to so many of the sweet little things that make up my life as your mama. I know they’ll make way for even more wonderful things, but they’ll take tiny pieces of my heart when they go.

You were not initially impressed with the independent nighttime life, either, by the way. It took us almost a month before you started sleeping well in your crib. It was maddening at the time, but I get it. You missed me too.

Now my girl, we are both adjusting. Crawling and teething are affecting your sleep these days but you fall asleep like a champ in your crib–alone! Daddy and I finally put away the Pack n’ Play and are starting to appreciate the joys of conversing at full volume and closing drawers without wincing in fear.

God willing, Sadie, I’ll get to watch you grow up and sleep down the hall from you for years to come. Unless our circumstances change, we’ll likely never share a room again. But I want you to know I’m still here. I’ll be here when you’re two and have a nightmare. I’ll be here when you wet the bed. I’ll be here when you’re 10 and have a fight with your best friend. When you’re 19 and studying for finals and more homesick than you ever dreamed.

I know it’s your job to move forward. Every day will see you grow a little more independent, needing me a little less. But I can tell you from experience that there will come a day (or 100) when life gets a little overwhelming and is moving way too fast for you, and you’ll just want your mom.

I’ll be right down the hall.

Love you forever,