My youngest, Sam, is turning three this week. And with this birthday I feel like we’re truly leaving babyhood behind. No, he’s not potty-trained yet, so I still have the pleasure of changing poopy diapers, but in so many other ways he’s so grown-up. He talks so much more than CJ did at his age, he’s memorized the names of all the Lego Ninjago characters, and he asks unexpectedly intelligent questions when we talk about our day. I’m impressed with him constantly, and yet, he’s still my baby. He’s still snuggly and small (smaller than CJ anyway) and it continually amazes me that our bodies fit so well together, like we did when he was growing inside me.

Sam made me want to be a stay-at-home-mom. I feel so lucky that I got to spend the last two years with him at home. He is a calm, happy kid and I think that’s in large part because he finds security in me. He still comes to me when he needs a boo-boo kissed, and his new favorite phrase is, “Mama? I’m still hungry.” He’s growing every day and I wonder when we’ll have to move him out of his crib to a big-boy bed. Hopefully not yet.

He loves to swim and jump in the pool and every time he wakes up he asks, “Is it morning time?” Even if it’s just after his nap. He’s good-natured and smiley and just so innocently excited about everything. He opened an early birthday present last night and the unbridled joy in his eyes brought tears to mine.

I recently went on an interview for a job that would have me working full-time again. It was such a wonderful opportunity—in my field, and I’d get to teach. But after talking it over with the interview committee, I realized I’m not quite ready to leave my baby. I’m also not quite done with grad school, so in all practicality, it may be a little too soon for me to take on a full-time job. But I’m thankful I had the experience, if nothing else because I learned that at this time in my life, being with my family comes first. Maybe when Sam’s in school, when everyone’s a little older, they’ll be able to handle me working a little more. Heck—hopefully by then I’ll be able to handle it myself.

For now I’m going to enjoy three and seven. They are such great ages. They play together so well, and the fighting, while present, has been minimal lately. We are having a fun summer of pool time, parks, indoor playgrounds, and movies on the couch. I made a bucket list for us but so far we’ve only crossed out one thing, which is fine. I’m trying not to hold us to too high a standard, and the bottom line is that we’re having a good time. I love where we are right now, and for me, it’s enough.