Just a Monday.
I lie half awake, luxuriating in the final moments of quiet that I'll have for the day, when I suddenly overhear my 3 year old alarm clock thump out of his bed, and dart down the hallway towards my room.
My door flings open, and I purposefully keep my eyes closed just to make sure that he knows I'm still "asleep". I hear him dash across the floor, and the bed shakes as he haphazardly crawls up to snuggle next to me.
6:40 am cuddles have been the norm since he's been able to climb out of his big boy bed.
Thankfully today, it's not 3:40 am.
Before I even have the chance to tell him "Mommy's still sleeping buddy" he's restlessly clutching my face, kissing my cheek and excitedly saying "it's morrninng mom!" in that permanently loud, yet innocent little boy inflection of his.
He's yet to fully grasp the concept of an "inside voice", if such a thing even exists when you're a 3 year old boy.
Above his familiar commotion, I make out the faint back and forth babbling coming from the twins nursery down the hall.
Lately when they wake in the morning, they're comforted by the very sight of each other, and will sit for a while peeking through the crib rails while exchanging their chatty twin banter. A very welcomed variation from exhausted months past, when I was often awakened at a much earlier hour, by the ear-splitting melodies of their hunger driven wails.
Sleepily, I roll myself out of bed and gradually make my way down the hall to their room, right as my big boy flies past me to extend his greetings for the day.
A favorite pastime of his, no doubt.
Walking in, their cheerful eyes meet with mine and I notice that their morning expectations of my presence is different lately, suggesting more of a joyful amusement, than that of a necessity or requirement.
Such a subtle variance, yet today it's oddly palpable.
They squeal up at me and clutch the crib rails as they pull to stand, resembling the big boys that they're too rapidly becoming, their wide eyes beaming at the pair of us.
And although nearly imperceptible, in this curious moment my heart can practically see the slight chubbiness of their once cherubic faces transform from baby to toddler. Their bowed out, chunky baby legs becoming longer and leaner, and their voices somehow sounding slightly older.
Cheerfully babbling my name now, "Mammama" they're reaching for me, and as I lean over to grab one, feeling his strong little arms hugging tight so he doesn't fall off when i go to scoop up his brother...
It hits me.
Like a bullet to the chest.
In almost one week my babies will be turning one, which absurdly promises that in about seven short days, they'll no longer be considered babies.
As I hesitantly stand before such a perplexity, all I can do is contemplate the fact that this mind numbingly hard and inexplicably magical chapter in my life, of growing and birthing little miracles, and mothering newborns, and babies, is somehow coming to a close.
This magnificent phase that began the instant that I learned I was pregnant with my first, that opened up to an eminant precipice on which I nervously stood, staring into the unknown abyss that is new motherhood, that so often seemed dauntless and never ending, is actually ending now and I can never have it back.
No more middle of the night, helpless cries for mommy because they're starving and they need me. My very last taste of what it feels like to have tiny creatures who depend solely and completely on me for their very existence.
No more home from the hospital excitement and tears, and newborn sounds and smells, and tiny hands that fit perfectly inside of mine.
All of it now, forever but a memory.
How did this happen?
Or better yet...when?
Did I over count, or skip a month somehow?
No. Of course I didn't.
I've been too busy counting down the months until life would be easier again. Easier for my firstborn, easier for the family as a whole.
Easier for me.
I've been beyond preoccupied with pushing forward to reach every new milestone, celebrating each tough phase that passes, considering that each passing one gradually makes life feel more manageable, and similar to how it once did.
And, unless there is some kind of miracle unplanned surprise package in store down the road, I only have one week left (at least in my mind) that I will be the mother of babies.
I suppose I've been cognizant that their first birthday was looming, as I've been fantasizing about that very notion for the past 11 months, but on this particular morning my heart is having a difficult time grasping the weight of such a concept.
In short, It appears that my sappy and sentimental thoughts on the matter have drop kicked the $#it out of my poor old heart, right to the point that it causes my aching chest to give rise to pitiful, nostalgic sentiments that well up through my throat, and fall from my eyelids onto the damn floor.