We have had a great Christmas vacation, but school for the older two started today and I can't lie about the fact that I was ready for a schedule again, ready for some one-on-one time with Jack. But as I was packing lunches last night, I was overwhelmed by that familiar feeling of bittersweet sadness. It hit me that this will be the last semester that Aly is in preschool; the last semester (for a while) that the girls come home with stories that include seeing one another in the others' classroom and sitting together at pick-up; the last semester when Aly is home in the mid-day when we can steal an hour away from the other kids to have some "special time" of sewing or coloring. The fact that her 5th birthday is only a month away makes that wound a little more poignant today. I remember sitting in bed on the eve of her first birthday watching Steel Magnolias and just crying. I can't believe how quickly it goes! I find that it's a relief to me that Caroline still has a year of preschool left, still has 7 months to a birthday (and best of all, pretends daily to visit Neverland so that she'll never grow up!) And my baby baby, Jack, is a month shy of one! Just one more month of bottles and then they'll disappear from this house...forever!
I know that childhood is fleeting, that every stage is precious, and that stages just get sweeter and sweeter. But I have to say that last night, as they were all asleep in bed, I couldn't help but stand and stare at each sleeping baby just a few minutes longer than usual.