The birthday parties.
The goofy moments.
The toothless faces.
And while looking through everything, I am seeing something in a different way.
There was always another baby.
I remember scrambling to pull off a summer zoo trip with the kids, my bump in the way, always in the way, and then baby pics to follow. The bump in the pictures doesn't always tell the real story - of morning sickness, of exhausted days, of illness, of waiting.
There was the kitchen remodel. Garage racks full of our dishes and pots in the living room, kids playing around everywhere, and there, another newborn baby in the middle of the mess.
I went through a lot of pictures last week to find some for my husband's cousin, who was visiting. He remarked that every time he came back to see us;
There was another baby.
It hit me. It's true. I had never thought about it in quite that way. We got pretty good over the years of making room for another little one, in some ways, even being pretty cavalier about it: by the time our last little one, #6 came, I was unworried about just about everything - where to put the baby, what they baby really needed, what the latest gadgets were (who cares?) etc.
But, looking through all those pictures, I know that even in the middle of the tough stuff, I loved every single minute of it all. Every baby smile, every first step, those little words, those first teeth, those school field trips.
Then later on the music concerts, the soccer games, the summer car trips.
Now it's the driving lessons, the dating scene for my older kids, marching band, and watching them become these amazing people: with the best and worst of you somewhere inside of them.
There is so much craziness. The full calendar, the occasional fights, the clothes that they will outgrow in a just month or two, the fridge that empties itself magically every couple of days.
Sometimes during the stress of all this teenager stuff, I dry my tears while snuggled-up to my two-year-old, and remind myself how fast it all goes by.
Thank goodness, there's still another baby.
I'm so grateful for this extraordinary, jumbo-size family and larger-than-life experience. But after writing this, I suddenly feel like I need a very long nap.
There's still another baby.