There have been many mothers who have sat and penned their thoughts on the subject of their last baby. Many have written beautiful songs or poems about their feelings that range from sadness, to joy and from relief to fear. No matter how it is written, I think there is a common theme of just downright raw nostalgia that comes with birthing and loving your last child. So today I thought I would add my own thoughts to the pool of beautiful moms out there who have recorded what was in their heart when their last baby turned the big ONE.
Knowing Boden was our last has helped in many ways. I soaked up his pregnancy more, I made a conscious effort to really take the time to relish in all the things that come with creating human life….even the not so fun. I made a point to carry that into his first year of living. With all the stages that pass by so quickly I tried my absolute best to stop and savor the smells, the sounds, the way he felt and how he looked. This isn’t to say I didn’t do this with all of my children, or that they are less special. I did cherish every moment with them…however I just made myself be less distracted and more AWARE this time around so that I could remember this feeling that I had 4x over with ALL of my children.
A lot of things change when you have your last kid. Sleepless nights (still suck) but just don’t seem as bad because you know when they end….they really do end forever. Diapers aren’t as big of a deal because you know when you’re diaper free you’re also needed just a little bit less. You don’t push them to hit stages as quickly because you really just want one more day of them needing you to get from point A to point B.
When you have your last kid, you likely have one or more other kids and there is a lot of chaos. So you cherish those quiet moments just the two of you and try to stretch them out as long as possible. You find yourself watching them a little longer as they sleep and rocking them just a little longer before going and meeting life’s demands. You stop more, listen more, feel more and pray that time will just slow down…just once…just this time.
But it doesn’t.
The clock keeps ticking and the minutes pass…just like they did with your other children.
Before you know it your baby is a year old and they’re walking and talking and are taking the first steps into becoming independent of you.
Every milestone Boden has hit has been met with the same excitement I had with my other children, but below the surface there has been a bit of sadness. There is always the voice that says “That’s the last first you’ll ever see.” It’s a sad reminder that this really is it. That the moments I will remember and talk about all of my life….are now that…just memories locked away in the vaults of my heart forever.
Don’t get me wrong… it isn’t all sad. There is a heck of a lot of sweetness with the bitter. There is some relief that comes with giving away all the bulky baby furniture and toys you will no longer need. There is excitement when we think of the vacations we can take and activities we can do without having to lug around a diaper bag the size of our heads, a pack n play, a stroller, a weeks worth of formula and butt cream. There is joy in knowing we won’t have to be so needed all the time. That our kids can help and contribute to the family dynamic in positive ways. There is fun in anticipating what all of our children will grow up to be…who they will become, whom they will marry, what careers they will choose and what path they will go down. These are all amazing feelings that we as parent’s get to have when we have children.
It’s not all sad.
I have learned a lot about motherhood this year. As soon as you think you know everything, there is always more to learn. I learned that I can truly survive on no sleep and 3 other kids and actually function like a normal human being. I realized that 4 kids is just like 3 kids which is just like 2 kids and that really if you know how to keep one human alive you can keep all 4 of them alive. I realized that having 4 kids makes you some kind of unicorn creature. The stares you get and the looks of questions are plentiful and happen all the time. People just cant decide if you’re crazy, if you don’t know how to use birth control, or if you’re one of those conspiracy theorists who is trying to single handedly re-populate the earth before it all gets sucked away by aliens. I have learned that there are bad days…not bad weeks or months or years. I’ve learned that every kid is different and will do things at their own pace. I’ve learned that as long as you always put your marriage first it will survive and thrive no matter how many kids are involved. I learned that I make the cutest babies in all the land. But most of all I learned that when I thought I couldn’t love any more there is always space for one more.
To all of my boys….I will forever cherish the time we had together in your first year of life. No matter how old and big you get you’ll always be that baby I snuggled and rocked to sleep with your perfect skin, tiny hands and those eyes that held all the miracles of the world inside. Thank you for making my life extraordinarily perfect by showing me just how amazing watching you grow can be.