*100 Beautiful Days of Motherhood: 34
I remember when we first found the crib. It had been tucked away in the attic of our seminary apartment building and forgotten. We were the supervisors of the building, so when no one claimed it, my husband brought it home because my swelling belly reminded him that we were going to need it.
All the parts were there, so we cleaned it and set it up in the walk-in closet of our one-bedroom apartment because there was nowhere else to put a crib. I cried when I saw it and shut the closet door. I was not ready for what that crib represented.
Just a few months later, my first little baby was asleep in that crib. I would stand there next to her and watch her sleep, rolling the word “daughter” around in my mind as if to make the idea less foreign and more real. Some things just take time, I learned. But I didn’t know it then.
There was another baby soon, and another—enough to dull the edges of early motherhood until it did not feel strange to call another person mine.
Every single one of my babies slept in the simple white crib with the arched wood ends and the wheels that liked to fall off if I tried to move it. There were scratchy little teeth marks on the railings from slobbery, teething toddlers and places where the paint had been chipped off by Matchbox car wheels when the twins were supposed to be sleeping, but weren’t.
Years passed the way years do, and it came time to take the crib apart and move the twins into real beds. But I couldn’t do it. I kept them in their cribs even though I often found that Paul had climbed in with Micah. Once or twice, he even got his fat little leg pinned against the wall as he tried to make his escape, and once or twice, he even fell headlong onto the carpet and Micah had to tattle all about it in pantomime because he couldn’t say all the words for “That fool tried it again.”
They needed a real bed, and I knew it.
But there was that crib. The crib that held all the babies that softened my independent, selfish heart into the heart of a mother. How different I had become over the course of the years. How different it felt to set up that crib for the first time than it did to take it down for the last time!
The last time.
That was the thing. Every other time the crib had been vacated, it was because a new baby was getting too big to sleep in the bedroom with me. A new baby needed the spot occupied by a now-big-brother or sister. A new baby had come into the home.
But these little babies stretched up and thinned out and turned into little men right before my very eyes, and there were no more little babies to take their place. There aren’t going to be any more babies.
I took a screwdriver to the old white crib with the scratchy teeth marks and the chipped paint and the railings where five little babies had learned to stand up before they had learned to sit back down.
And I cried hot, mama tears for all of it.
My husband walked by and crinkled up his eyes at me and wrapped me up in a hug because I really am the most psychotic person on the planet.
The white crib has stayed in the garage next to a gnarly old bookcase that needs some attention. I came across it this weekend while I was attempting to organize and straighten out and clean up all the stuff that has piled up in this house. “You should sell that,” my husband said.
But I am the kind of mother who likes to keep the things that remind me of where I’ve been and what God has done. That simple white crib represents many years of God at work in my life. It is a symbol of my stubbornness and my redemption and the incredible mercy of God. It seems as if things like that should be set up and looked at and remembered. But you can’t very well keep an old white crib forever.
Or can you?
My mind started spinning when I saw the crib in the garage, and while I really didn’t intend to keep it, a crazy idea came into my head. Perhaps I could set up a stone of remembrance in the form of an old white crib. Perhaps I could find a way to keep a memory of the incredible miracle of God in my life. Perhaps the old white crib was not quite ready to move on.
Join me tomorrow to see what became of the crib I couldn’t seem to give away.