I only slept for three hours last night. I can’t even blame the children, my husband, or my snoring dog. They were all sound asleep, breathing deeply and effortlessly. I know, because I idiotically checked each of them multiple times; hovering my ear over their mouths and ash placing one hand on their heaving chests. Each time, leaving every one of their rooms in absolute wonder.

How are all of the bedrooms in our house suddenly filled?

I usually never have problems sleeping. In fact, if left to my own schedule and devices I am confident I could probably outsleep any Joe Schmo teenager out there. However, ever since I earned the title “Mommy”, I have had countless sleepless nights — and many of them surprisingly have been self-inflicted. Those nights are the nights when I just cannot shut it all down; the multiple facets of the day and the days ahead as a parent incessantly churning wildly in my mind.

Last night, however, it wasn’t a night of worry or stress as some of the nights have been in the past. On the contrary, it was a night where I kept checking everyone out of sheer awe. Awe that here they are — beating heart, steady breathing and all — sleeping in my house. It wasn’t long ago when my husband and I were the only souls sleeping in our house. It was quiet; no snoring dog, no blaring white noise sound machines emanating from multiple rooms, no random sudden crying to make us bolt out of bed (injuring ourselves in the process), and no reason to stay awake at night and check that everyone is breathing.

But now, suddenly, every room is filled.

Believe me, the lofty gift that statement inherently suggests is not lost on me. The fact that our rooms are filled with precious breathing children is a dream come true. We long prayed for this reality. We begged for this. We fought for this. And to now walk around my house at 3 a.m. and see the reality of our dreams and prayers quite literally in the flesh, is what is keeping me up night. I’m a crazy insomniac in awe.

In light of that awe and in light of coming out of the very real pregnancy and newborn fog, we’ve reached the point in our lives where we are having “the” conversation. That conversation being, “Is our family complete?” The reality is, my husband and I are no spring chickens anymore. Which is a polite way of saying, we are getting old. We are getting achy. Not to mention, it is getting harder for us to maintain even just a very basic Mom and Dad bod. Thus, I submit to you that we are moving (have moved) outside of the realm of our ideal childbearing years.

I think that is part of the reason I’m up at night staring at everyone in (slightly creepy) awe. I know in my heart we are closing the door on this beautiful season of childbearing and the newborn stage. Sacrificing a bit of sleep to stare in thankfulness and wonder and, in a way, pay homage to the closing of this season of life seems oddly appropriate.

I have been reflecting on this column and how many of you have been with me on this journey for so many years now. Thank you for being with me. Sincerely with my whole heart, thank you for reading. In keeping with moving into a new season, I have also decided this will be my last column here in this beautiful publication. My hope is that this will pave the way for someone else to move us and school us with their parenting wisdom and wit. It has been a joy and an honor to share life with you.

Now, for a much-needed nap…

Follow Tracy on her blog, littleparentontheprairie.com.

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