I threw my infant carseat away the other day. The one I brought all of my babies home from the hospital in. The one that was covered in spit up stains with the headrest worn down from the back of my babies’ soft heads. The one I’ve washed countless times and gained mama muscles from lifting multiple times a day. I pulled this carseat out of the garage 4 different times and prepped it for 4 little ones. It’s lived in my car more years than it hasn’t. And yet, it’s just a carseat, right?
No one ever talks about this side of motherhood. The side of letting go. The years where we no longer need to pack up the baby items until the next time. When we don’t need to store away the infant sling and baby swing in the garage or attic. Because next time isn’t coming; we’ve reached the end of the road and are entering into a new season. One just as beautiful and exciting as the previous, but a new season none-the-less. A season that is unfamiliar and uncharted but one worth yearning for just like the former.
But entering into this season requires letting go. And for me–and maybe you as well–letting go can be hard, emotional, and sometimes even painful.
Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting or pushing past the grief that can come with saying goodbye to a stage or season of motherhood. Quite the contrary. Letting go allows me to honor what has been, where I’ve been, and the sacredness of the season I’ve just come out of. It allows me to hold the good and the grief together, hand in hand. It reminds me that I’m human and it’s okay to mourn the baby years, toddler years, and–I’m sure one day–elementary school years. And then, once I’ve let go, I’m able to embrace the new.
I’ve learned that the more present I am to the season in front of me, the more peace I receive. Sure, I may feel nostalgic for the baby years. I may miss their little voices and reminisce about the baby wearing and constant cuddles. But these years right here are filled with so much sweetness just waiting to be discovered. Learning to let go allows me to embrace this present season with my children who need me just as much as they always have, though it may look differently.
Friday morning, before the trash truck arrived, I walked outside onto my driveway and grabbed the infant seat out of the trash. I put it back in the corner of the garage, tucked away. I’m not quite ready to let go of it yet, and that’s okay.