Seven.

You are 7 years old today.

I was taught that seven is a perfect, magical number — God created Heaven and Earth in 6 days and then rested on the 7th. The number seven shows up repeatedly all throughout the Bible, meaning, I assume, that you will be absolutely angelic for the next 365 days. Because seven.

You have given me so many gifts in your short life, I cannot imagine what else there is to experience. And yet I know, because of what the past seven years have shown me, that my mind is too small to imagine the joy that is yet to come. I could weave my words into an eloquent summary of what it means to be your mother, but that wouldn’t suit us. I’ll stick with what I know and keep it simple.

You are ear-to-ear grins too early in the morning.

You are pizzazz, personified.

You are stubborn and so incredibly difficult. Like … so difficult. You dig your heels in unlike anyone I have ever known, and it’s terrifying and wondrous all at once to know that I am supposed to shape you into a man of character, because you already have so much character. How am I supposed to know what to do with it?! There is so much of it, and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger, like pizza dough.

Being your mother makes me uncomfortable because I have to admit almost daily that I don’t know what the hell I am doing. But I think you think I’m pretty great, so that helps.

You are fun.

You are full-volume.

You eat like a chinchilla, and you get that from your father.

You like to catch people off-guard. When I least expect it, you’ll say “Mommy! How many Sith Lords does it take to change a lightbulb?” And I will stop whatever I’m doing and think about it, but before I can answer, you blurt out: “NONE! BECAUSE THEY PREFER IT ON THE DARK SIDE! Get it?! DARK? SIDE? HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!”

Oh, Maverick. My life would be so boring without you. Like I tell you all the time, you are just right, just the way you are.

SEVEN!

SEVEN!

Happy 7th birthday, kid. You are a gift to me every single day.

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The Baby Is Not A Baby Anymore.

“The baby,” who isn’t actually a baby anymore and I guess I need to stop calling her that, crawled at 10 months.

Exactly 7 months later, she started walking. It also turns out that she’s quite the climber.

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I am so relieved to have use of my arms again. So, so relieved. Picking her up and hauling her all over the place — because when you’re trying to walk into a store with an unpredictable three-year-old, you have to have the other one either strapped in a cart or on your hip — has given me unprecedented upper-body strength. I can do man push-ups. Okay, only like three. But STILL.

And while I am so excited to finally close the door on all things baby in this house, I admit that I’m also so sad about it. My last child has truly turned into a toddler overnight who drunkenly wanders the house saying “Bye-bye! Cracker?”

She sings, she laughs, and she is a complete and utter joy. Except when she’s trying to eat Cascade gel packs, or when she watches me lace up my shoes and unties one while I tie the other one, and then when I re-tie that one she unties the other one. I mean, it’s cute now that it’s over and I’m telling you about it, but when I’m in a hurry and I can’t get my damn shoes tied and Asher is standing by the door screaming “I DON’T WANT MY CLOTHESES TO TOUCH ME!” it’s not cute.

At all.

I’ll never have another baby-turned-toddler again. This is it, and I’m glad … but also there is a part of me that wishes I could make it stop. Just for a moment.

I’ll never again have the joy of seeing one of my children take their first steps. Now there will be new firsts, each one taking them farther away from babyhood. And to be honest, I’m relieved because this has been incredibly hard. But also, I need to have a good cry about it.

This is the beginning of goodbyes, and everything about it is bittersweet.

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