Over the weekend, I decided to organise the kids bookshelf. It was overflowing and a disaster area. I knew there were books that are no longer needed among the books they still use and I started with a bulldozer attitude. I had three piles: a keep pile, a donate pile, and a trash pile. I mercilessly whipped through the early readers and the books that were damaged. I was on a roll until I came to the books that were part of the baby years. The books that I started to read with them when they were teeny tiny. The books that were part of our night time routine for many years. When I got to Maisy, Charlie and Lola, the Nut Brown Hare family plus Max and the Wild things ...well I stalled. I was flooded with memories. Of the nights I spent trying to read when every cell in my body ached with tiredness. The nights we giggled and laughed at the same story line....over and over again. The nights I fell asleep before they did. The nights I wanted to skip this part of the routine because I still had school clothes and lunches to organise. The nights, I listened as they read the story to me from the pictures.
I realised these books were a big part of my motherhood journey. A part of my journey that is now over. My children no longer need me to read to them before they go to bed. They are self-sufficient in reading their own books before they go to bed, and often our reading time is centered around homework. We have days where we cuddle up on the lounge as we read our own books but they are no longer babies. My motherhood journey has changed. I have long ago packed up their baby clothes and their favourite baby toys. These books are the last tangible items of my early motherhood years. I smiled at myself as the pile of books to keep grew bigger. I thought I had let go of these mummy moments from the early days but clearly not.
I don't want to go back to those days, I still have bags under my eyes from the lack of sleep. I am thoroughly enjoying this part of my journey with a house filled with teenagers and tweens. I am more comfortable in my skin as a mother and question myself less. But I am here today because of all of those nights reading books to kids who didn't want to go to sleep when I did. Those wonder filled, chaotic, erratic and laughter filled days were my marathons. They were my Mt Everest that I climbed. They were the days that I thought I would never get through but always did. I decided to keep the books as my trophies. I wasn't ready to let go of this tangible part of my journey yet. They are my little reminder that this teenage stage will pass as well. That each day, however hard, fun, joyous, or frustrating, needs to be celebrated.