Today you turn four years old and I find myself truly wondering where time has gone. I actually had to sit down and count out the years earlier this week because I was convinced we had missed one and you really should only be turning three. But alas, we have not and you are four, mighty years old today!
Over the last couple of months, I’ve found myself having lots of different emotions, knowing we were approaching this birthday of yours and I wanted to put pen to paper…or I guess in this case…fingers to the keyboard and write you this letter today, on what I feel is quite the milestone year for you and for our family.
Let me explain.
You were a bit of a surprise to us, little Judey. Just over four years ago, we were walking through very uncertain times and had just decided to sell a bunch of our baby gear as we were pretty sure we were done having babies. Low and behold, I was actually a few weeks pregnant with you and didn’t even know it. When we discovered I was in fact pregnant, I was shocked and also very happy. I had always dreamt of having three kids and you were the fulfillment of that lifelong dream.
Fast forward through a tough pregnancy where I was sick, a difficult delivery where then you were born sick and the first two weeks of your life spent in NICU, we were relieved when we were finally able to take you home and start our life as a party of five. We knew that you were the last child I would bare and there was a sense of completion that came with that.
I wasn’t prepared for what living life with three kids under the age of four would be like, let alone in a brand new community, new church and no family around.
It was hard. Scratch that, it was downright one of the toughest times I’ve walked through. And I’d soon realize that something was mentally going wrong with me and was diagnosed with postpartum depression when you were six months old.
Luckily, where I was falling short, your dad was able to come in and pick up the pieces. Actually, he did way more than pick up the pieces – he carried the whole damn ship for a solid year while I was trying to get my feet back under me and my head out of water.
As much as I dreamt of having children and had all of your names picked out long before I was even pregnant, I knew I wasn’t cut out to be a stay at home mom. So when the PPD was at it’s height, I knew that I needed something to do for myself that would give me a creative outlet that would ultimately help make me a better mom for you guys. Because when mom is at her best, everyone else can thrive too. (same goes for Dad’s too I suppose).
We also found that living close to the city, having a mortgage, two vehicles and three kids cost a lot and I would need to figure out something to help contribute financially to our bank account. With not many options of things I could do outside the home because you and your siblings were all so little, I had to do something from home.
This blog was birthed out of those two needs: creative outlet and financial need.
I’m happy to say that it has accomplished both of those things in a very short amount of time.
But as I was hustling and growing this business, trying to provide for my family, I will admit, there were moments where I wasn’t always present. I had deadlines, I had trips, I had lots of things vying for my attention.
And while I’ve been home almost every single day with you for the last four years, I sit here today and feel like I actually missed part of those years.
I’ve been on a real journey since you’ve been born, not just with my business and my mental health but also my physical health – dieting, sleep apnea, IBS…to name a few – to an emotional journey with friendships to a spiritual journey with God. It feels like a lot of the “stuff” that I experienced in my teen years and 20’s that I never dealt with all came to the surface in the last four years that you’ve been alive.
The last six – eight months as I knew this birthday was pending, I’ve started to grow really emotional as I’ve watched you reach new milestones that I know will be the LAST our family will ever experience.
I can remember when you potty trained last year, which I was actually really hesitant to even do because I knew this would be the last kid in diapers. And as gross as changing man-sized poo’s can be, there was something so grossly satisfying about it because I knew you still needed me. And when everyone told me to rejoice that you were finally diaper-free, I can remember playing it cool publicly but privately feeling kind of sad that I would never again purchase another diaper again.
This last year you’ve also outgrown the stroller. This has been a badge of honor that I’ve proudly pushed around the neighbourhood knowing that it held some of my most precious contents…and I don’t just mean my coffee 😉 Do you know that even though you haven’t ridden in a stroller in almost a year, it’s STILL in the trunk of the van? Daddy keeps telling me it’s time to sell it and I keep saying “What’s the rush?!” While I know deep down that we don’t need it anymore, there’s still a part of me that isn’t ready to let it go.
This last year we’ve enrolled you into preschool, as we did with your older sister and brother the year before junior kindergarten and while I can remember feeling a sense of relief that you would be in a structured environment, making new friends three days a week while mommy could get some focused work hours in at home, I sit here today, six months out from you starting full time school and I could weep at the thought of you going.
It’s like all of a sudden I’ve awoken and you are four years old. You are getting ready to launch into the world without mommy and daddy by your side every minute of every day and I can barely stand the thought of it.
This last week I’ve called you “My Baby” quite a few times and you get right mad when I say that and make sure to correct me every time “I’m a BIG BOY MOM!”
You are Judey.
You are a big boy who I am so fiercely proud of.
But you will always be my baby.
You will always be my last born child.
And so today as I write you this letter which I know you are too young to read and understand right now, I want to finish with this.
While I may not have been mentally present for every single moment of the last four years, I want you to know how much I love you. You were such a beautiful gift to me four years ago that reminded me of God’s goodness and grace.
And while I’m a little sad that this is a turning point for our family – never going back to diapers and strollers – and having three kids in full time school in just a few short months – I’m also insanely proud of you, my sweet boy. You love life, you love others, you love adventure, you love dinosaurs, you are articulate, you have a wild imagination and you shake your booty like no other four year old I know. You are going to do incredible things, I just know it!
My birthday promise to you today is that I want to savour as many moments as we can together this next year. Because four will never come again. You will never be this young in your life again and I want to treasure the funny moments, the crazy ideas, the silly names you like to give everyone – I don’t want to miss those. So I vow to be more present – not perfect – but here for you, every day, laughing, loving and doing life together.
I love you so much Judey-bear!
* Photos by Gracie Laura Photography