So I was watching a video of you on my phone, and I just laughed and laughed at your expressions of excitement and surprise. The way your eyes got wide, the startled jerk, and jubilant grin; it all culminated to make the most adorable thing I thought I had ever seen. But then it hit me. The video was of your first time playing with a new toy. One day I would go to put you in there, and you wouldn’t be quite so excited.
One day you would not be impressed by bright colors and objects that made rattling noises. Forever gone would be the look of startled anticipation for something new. That reaction, that response to seeing something for the first time; one day you wouldn’t do that anymore. You’d get older and smarter, and the little firsts would never happen again with you. But even worse than that, they would never happen again for me.
It was decided that you would be the last baby, and while my aging body said that was just fine, my youthful spirit wasn’t so sure. I would miss it. I wouldn’t miss the sleepless nights of a colicky newborn, but I would miss the way your tiny mouth pursed and suckled the air while you slept. I would miss the way you fit perfectly in the crook of my arm, so small, so perfect.
For us, you would be the last, and I thought of all your firsts that I’d never see again.
You’d be the last one to speak her first words.
You’d be the last one to take first steps.
You’d be the last one to have your first haircut.
And you’d be the last one to be my baby.
You’d be my last baby my body bore with sacrifice and pain.
You’d be the last child I nourished from my own body with pride and joy.
You’d be the last battle with teething, which didn’t sound that bad. But you’d also be the last one to lose your first tooth. And that made me sad.
My mind felt fuddled with what my heart thought it wanted. I did look forward to the lovely woman I knew you would one day become, and I desired fulfilling things for your future, like your first kiss, and later a family. I looked forward to watching you mature into the woman of God I knew you were destined to be, but there was also that part of me that just wanted to rock you in the early morning hours forever and ever.
It was this part of me that didn’t want you to grow up and be my last. I didn’t want it to end. I liked that I was your favorite, and that you cried because you wanted me to hold you all the time.
I wanted to cling selfishly to your squealing laughter just a little bit longer, to keep your gummy grin around a little bit more, and to slow down each of your firsts that would end up being the last. The last child.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about that, but I knew I’d need to make it last. All the lasts. I watched your video again, and again, and I laughed right along with you. My last baby enjoying another first. I knew it was as it should be, and the knowledge that time was fleeting somehow made it all the more sweet.