I experienced a moment that marked the end of an era for me as a mom. I just put on the last diaper on my youngest child.
Truth be told, I don’t know whether I want to cry or to squeal. I should be happy, right? On one hand, I have just gained some independence and freedom. A lot of independence and freedom, actually. Do you realize how freeing it feels after seven long years of diapering child after child to realize that you no longer have to buy diapers ever again? Or to look for diaper coupons? To keep diapers stocked up in your home, purse and car? Or the money I will be saving every month because I no longer need to invest in a monthly supply of diapers.
If there are so many positive ways to look at this situation, then why does the thought of my youngest child graduating from the diaper stage make me well up with tears? Why does it bother me so much if this is supposed to be such an exciting milestone in my child’s life? In my life?
On the positive side, my daughter is becoming a big girl. She is learning more about her body and becoming independent. In exchange, not having to change multiple diapers each day allows more time for other things in my daily life.
I can get excited about the amount of money I will be saving each month by no longer having to purchase diapers. Thirty bucks a month may no be much to you, but for me, it is a good chunk of money that I will able to put back into our family budget.
Freedom! Do you realize just how nice it is to not have to change a diaper a 8-12 times per day? You wouldn’t think it would consume so much of your time. This means less interruptions during the day not having to stop in the middle of whatever I am trying to work on to perform diaper duty.
The last diaper means more restful sleep. I can’t count how many times over the past seven years that I have been woken up in the middle of the night because someone had an accident, and I groggily changed bed sheets, changed my child’s clothes and tucked them back into bed for a peaceful night’s rest.
Meanwhile, momma over here would crawl back into bed only to wake up yearning for a cup of warm, vanilla coffee to provide enough fuel to get me through the day. While I certainly do not mind tending to my little one’s needs, I didn’t realize just how much time it opened up in my daily life to no longer have to do these things.
New Found Freedom
I was near the diaper section at Target the other day and my initial thoughts prompted me to walk over to see if they were running a sale on diapers. As I approached the diaper aisle, an absentminded thought popped into my head. It whispered, “You don’t have to buy diapers anymore.”
I literally stopped in the middle of the aisle.
Hold on. Wait a second. That just sounded really weird.
What do you mean I don’t need these anymore?
And then the slightest feeling of excitement started to set in as I realized that I don’t have to buy diapers anymore. I just sat there for a second to let this sentence marinade in my head. This brought forth a smile to my face that turned into the biggest grin. Right in the middle of Target while my toddler sat innocently in the front of the cart nibbling on a snack, I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs, “I don’t have to buy diapers anymore! Whoo hoo!”
So, if there are so many positives then why the sadness? Why the tears, my love? Well, it’s because it marks the end of an era in my life.
The end of an important chapter
I have spent years tending to little babies; wrapping them up in blankets to keep them warm, feeding them bottles to fill their little tummies, changing diapers and rocking them to sleep. They are still babies to us when they wear diapers.
But what happens when they no longer need them?
It signifies the baby stage is just about behind me. It’s a chapter in my life that has been written, published and soon will be stored away as memories to be relished and reflected back upon with warm, loving smiles.
I will no longer be able to get this time back in my life.
In the flash of a second, these thoughts bring a panic to heart, tears in my eyes and an incredible amount of emotions swirling in my heart and soul.
Handling the inevitable with elegance and grace
So, how did I handle this teeter-tottered, emotional situation? I decided to handle it with elegance and grace. When I realized we were down to our last handful of diapers, I took one and tucked it away in my dresser. That way, I could ensure that I would be the one to put the last diaper we would ever use on my daughter. At this point, potty training is almost complete and she is wearing a diaper or pullup overnight as she transitions to full time ‘big girl undies’ status.
Over the next few days, I kept watching the stack of diapers that sat on top of her dresser dwindle down to just a few. When I put the last diaper on her from that pile, I took a deep breath and said, “Well, tomorrow will be the day. One last diaper and then that’s it. No more diapers for us.”
The following night it was time to get Meadow ready for bed. I walked down the hallway and into my bedroom. I stopped at my dresser and opened the second drawer. I pulled out the diaper I had stored away for safe keeping and walked towards the baby’s room.
I told her it was time to put on her diaper for the night and with her normal bubbly smile and big eyes, she cheerfully walked over to me and laid down on the plush carpet so I could change her diaper. I smiled through the tears and just soaked up the moment. She was her normal wiggly self waiting for me to hurry up so she could get back to playing. I can still see the soft blue and green circle pattern and hear the soft crinkling noise her diaper makes as she moves about.
Savoring a milestone
The last diaper signifies the end of a big chapter in my life as a parent and as a person. It marks a closed chapter in the journey of my life. I was grateful and fortunate that I was able to savor the final moments of this stage and embrace the positive things the next chapter will bring in our lives. I felt at peace knowing that I have taken thousands of pictures of each of my children to cherish the memories of their youth as they grow older with each passing day. The closing of this chapter was also a gentle reminder to continue to slow down and enjoy each present moment while we still have it.
Date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Location: Diaper Street
Next Stop: Onward and Forward