Thursday, March 19, 2009

The White Crib (sorta like The Red Violin, only shorter)

Henry is now in a big boy bed. Well, he’s in a blow-up bed on the floor, which is his first step out of his baby bed and into big-boy land. I expeditiously took apart the crib today, hoping to get “one last thing” knocked out before I left to get the kids from school. As I took the first piece out of his room, I suddenly stopped mid-stride.

“Oh. My. Gosh.” I thought. And the flood began.

I remember going to Omaha to pick out baby furniture for the nursery when I was pregnant with Abby. (Very round all-over pregnant.) I recall waddling through furniture aisles in my flip flops, worn because no shoe made fit over my swollen, Pillsbury-Dough-Boy feet. I remember wondering what furniture to get, what the right mattress was for this new sweet little life, envisioning the blissful moments standing at the changing table (pregnancy hormones were definitely at work here), imagining feeding my new baby in the comfy rocker. I remember dutifully looking at the spacing between the crib slats and I remember not being able to imagine the life inside of me ever sleeping in that huge, cavernous space.

I remember Abby sleeping in this crib for the first time, in her bouncy seat. Yes, in her bouncy seat in her crib. And I can still hear the thud which shook the house the first time she climbed (ok, fell) out of the crib, exactly two and half years later.

I remember being pregnant with Henry and strategically hiding the white crib and making Abby’s big girl room really exciting so she wouldn’t feel slighted when her baby brother began sleeping in her crib, still slightly warm from her past slumbers.

I remember writing on this very blog about the night Henry slept in the white crib for the first time at four months old. I remember the pain and emotion that filled my heart that evening, my baby boy sleeping so far away from me, the giver of life.

I held the pieces of the dismantled white crib in my hands and not unlike Abby’s first lost baby tooth, I slid my hands over the dents (teething) and dried tears. I smirked at the blue lines Henry artistically added when his mother was smart enough to leave a blue Sharpie within reach of his sleeping post.

Now, I had all the dismantled pieces in the hallway.

No more children of mine will ever sleep in this white crib. One single, fat tear traveled down my cheek. It’s over. No more. I think this was one of the most final, most pointed and defining moments, the “sign-on-the-dotted-line” finality that yes, I’m done having children. (You may reasonably point out that giving away all the baby clothes, or hubby’s “schnip schnip” may have provided more finality, but no, it was the breaking down of the white crib.)

I should get a tshirt that reads:

“once a baby factory, now closed. all facilities still viable. currently, however, being used solely as a hormone factory. now negligibly valuable, yet not obsolete. no more babies shooting down this production line.”

No more babies.

And then, my wonderful, stippled memories of golden reproduction days were shattered by an impressive hour-long tantrum from Henry who decided he absolutely does not like the meal that two weeks ago he loved. And with a one-two punch, Abby finally reached the melting point from lack of sleep and the rigors of being an incredibly kind, thoughtful Kindergartener.

Perhaps a better t-shirt would be:

“well-rested, proud mother of two. able to leave house with just a purse.”

Hubby wisely said to me, when we finally decided we wouldn’t have any more children,
“Honey, one of the children does have to be the last.”

Yes, I know. Especially tonight as I sit surrounded by discarded, strewn white and blue striped crib parts, ready to make their way into some other lucky family’s life. I know.

Farewell, white crib. Thanks for all the memories.