I'm not going to post trite metaphors here, but I read the Very Hungry Caterpillar enough times still to perceive this as a butterfly moment.
And not to devalue the vocation of motherhood and marriage, either....
But I feel like I'm currently flying after a very long crawl...a very long haul!
It wasn't long ago I was posting about how I still felt in survival mode with a toddler. I couldn't get anything done, even regular housework. There felt like no way forward, even though I had committed to going through the process to have my vocation to ordained ministry tested, which took a lot of time and energy.
But somehow, in amongst ensuring I spent special time with all of the girls, especially 4thSister, and carved out rest time and work time and husband time, and no one suffered too badly....
I made it through!
I made it through the first stage of ordination testing, and after a new round of church hopping, which I aim to blog about, I'm on to the final interview.
I made it through life with a toddler holding onto my leg while I made hot dinners.
I turned around and suddenly this girl, in all likelihood the last girl, the last child, was in a big girl bed, and toilet trained, and I was passing the baby stuff on at last.
And it wasn't as bittersweet as I imagined.
I think whatever was ahead, it would feel like a new phase. Whatever came next would be me building up the kingdom, I would hope. It just happens, we think, for me, to be ordained ministry.
As the four sisters play together these school holidays, sometimes four, sometimes two, three in different combinations, I get this wonderful sibling thing, and embrace it. I sometimes wish there were more but it feels right that there are four, and I can go on mothering without feeling like I'm in the trenches forever. I'm forty, so I've pretty much accepted that this is the bend in the road; I hope if there were other plans, I'd be happy with those, too.
I feel that in the newborn times, and in the two-under-two times, and the how-can-I-cope times, I never saw this day coming, and it's quite a surprise. The girls have high-maintenance emotional needs (they are girls!!! and this) although they are very independent in practical terms. I have a little freedom to try a new rice salad recipe or read a book - or blog, even!
I'm not here to gloat, of course. It makes me realise that we do all survive young children, though, and I don't think I will ever forget the struggles, and I hope to NEVER tell anyone "enjoy while you're able/you're tired/you're at the end of your tether as this soon shall pass".