Today I woke up with a surprise jolt. It wasn’t the alarm clock, a crying baby, the dripping faucet that is driving me crazy, or a kick to the ribs from AD (who squeezed his way into the bed yet again). It was the realization that my little N turns one in exactly 7 days. A small pang in the pit of my stomach began to form. My youngest (and definitely my last) is about to turn the big 1. How the hell did that happen? I know it’s cliché to talk about how fast time moves or how fast “they” grow up. But, I was determined to make N’s babyhood stretch out. I thought surely the fourth time around I could stretch out each and every milestone. I would savor every moment. I wouldn’t take anything for granted.
For the most part, I really have inhaled her sweet baby breath at every opportunity. I have enjoyed and celebrated every milestone, from her first tooth to the first time she said Mama. I have gazed into her eyes and not fretted too much about sleepless nights or runny noses. I have enjoyed nursing her and whisking her away for as many quiet moments I could muster, which is impressive considering I live in a circus. She is my treasure, my love (like all my beautiful babies of course), but she is my last, so I wanted to make everything extra special. And wouldn’t you know it, that damn ticking clock moved just as quickly as it did with all of my babies.
I have a message to every new parent who is simply trying to get through another day, or is really busy “out doing” other Moms, or is struggling with finances or other extraneous stresses: There is no magic pill to stop the clock. Your baby will grow up and before you know it, you will be ushering in teenagehood (like I did a couple of months ago with my oldest). One day you will stare at pictures of your baby and will struggle to remember every cute wrinkle of the nose and high-pitched squeal. One day that child will start his or her own life and you will, as someone recently told me about her college-aged son, really feel like a part of you is missing. So, try to enjoy it all – even the crappy, hair-pulling parts.
I’m not saying that babyhood is the only stage I ever loved or that you will ever love (I know many who prefer the older stages). I have enjoyed many phases of my children (notice I didn’t say all) and I know there are plenty more to come. I realize little N is hardly done being a baby and I look forward to watching her grow into a toddler and beyond, but today I felt the pang of an impending goodbye. And I hate saying goodbye, even if it’s just the metaphoric type.
Please feel free to share this message with your Mommy friends and join the discussion on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TinyStepsMommy.