When your youngest is a baby, you never think about when they’ll be a toddler.
Then they start going and it never seems to stop.
Suddenly you look up and they’re turning 7.
Today was Ellie’s 7th Birthday.
She’s so determined and focused on what she wants. Fear is not part of her vocabulary but adrenaline rush certainly is. She’s beautiful and lovely. The driest and wittiest humor you’ll ever see in a child under ten.
We knew her sisters were going to be gone the week before her birthday so together we made a list of everything she wanted to do while they were gone. And she made sure that we did every single thing on that list.
She is her own person and I love her for it.
Lately I’ve been going through the baby clothes as I clean them out. We’re done with babies and have been for a few years but I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of the baby clothes that I remember them all wearing.
4 boxes of baby clothes have been sitting in our storage closet for 6 years.
And slowly I went through outfit after outfit while all the girls sat around the room. Some of them we talked about the memories behind them. Others we ewwwed about the old spit up stains.
And then I pulled out the shirt that they all wore on the day they were born.
Part of me wanted a baby again. Another bigger part is so excited about where we are going as a family.
I’ve spent the summer with my family. I haven’t gone to events I’ve been invited too and I’ve stayed home from meetings and classes. We’ve just been together, enjoying every drop of summer that we can.
And yet there is a change for us on the horizon.
We know we don’t want another baby. The clothes are being washed and passed on to people we consider family, even though they’re not.
But we want more kids in our life.
Adoption? One day.
Foster. Eventually yes.
But just not yet.
So we decided to do what we felt would be a good way to help our kids learn more about the world.
We have invited a foreign exchange student to live with us this year.
Soon a teenager will be arriving to live with us for the next ten months as they go to school here in the United States.
We’ve already learned so much about their home country, it’s amazing. And yet the learning has only just begun.
It’s exciting and scary as we get to know them and put ourselves out there hoping they’ll like us, knowing that we already love them because we know this is what we’re supposed to do.
Will I blog more about the experience of a foreign exchange student? Probably.
Will I talk about her? Probably not because she deserves privacy.
Will you see her sometimes on my social media accounts? Most likely.
Will I cry tomorrow when I realize that I no longer have a baby, toddler or preschooler? Yes, without a doubt.
I am so blessed by this slower summer with my family.
I am beyond blessed to parent this newly minted 7 year old who knows who she is and delights in it.
And I’m crazy blessed that we have a new journey ahead of us that we get to take together, and that we get to add to our family this year in a different way.
That’s where we are and it’s a wonderful place.