“The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time, until there are no more times. And even then, it will take you a while to realize . . .”
The Last Time Poem
This week was my first baby’s fourth birthday. Along with it, came lots of thoughts and emotions for me.
Raising children is so many things.
Highs and lows like I’ve never known. Fatigue. Joy. Overwhelm. Loneliness. Accomplishment. Pride. Love.
A balance of investing 110% of yourself into bringing up these little humans while trying your hardest to maintain even a little sense of self.
So, when nap and quiet time align for my two girls, I relish the fleeting moments of silence to myself.
After about 10 minutes of quiet, I hear crying upstairs—the “something’s wrong” cry. I rush to find a little girl who can’t articulate what’s wrong or why she’s crying.
And yet the sobs keep coming.
It’s OK. I know, little girl. Sometimes the tears come, and you just don’t really know why.
So, I pick her up in my arms and we sit together in her rocking chair. A few handfuls of snacks calm her down.
Then I ask what she wants to do. And she says, snuggle with me.
So, my not-so-little baby crawls up in my lap and we rock back and forth. And I grab her nearby fuzzy Paw Patrol blanket and wrap her up tight.
And it feels like home.
Within minutes, she’s asleep. I can actually count on one hand the number of times she’s fallen asleep on me. She’s always needed her space. Her independence.
But today, she needs her Mama.
After a few minutes, I find myself antsy. Uncomfortable with simply sitting. I’m without my phone, music, anything. And in the silence, I’m challenged by the voice inside that says, “Just enjoy the moment . . . this may not happen again.”
So, I take a breath and lean into the silence. The sound of my baby’s breath. The closeness of her wrapped in my embrace. The size of her stature almost too big for me to comfortably hold.
And the tears burn my eyes a little as they slide down my cheeks, trying my best not to wake her.
And I am truly grateful.
For this hectic and chaotic season of mothering, and all that it brings. For the constant call of my name, Mom. For the chance to carry this label. For the gift of healthy and beautiful children. For the honor of raising the next generation of confident, capable women who will be a force in their own ways.
For this moment in time, when I am reminded that this may never come my way again, but how wonderful that it came at all.
About 20 minutes later, she shifts and her head falls back a little, waking her enough that she asks to snuggle in her bed. Then she tumbles off my lap, and the moment is gone.
She wraps her arms around her pillow, and I cover her up. We say “I love you” and again she’s asleep. I quietly creep out and run downstairs and back up again to take a picture of a moment I hope I will not soon forget.
Of my baby. And the gift of being her mama.
And while I know I will still struggle at times with the idea of “enjoying every moment” as not all the moments are enjoyable, I am reminded anew of the gift of these oh-so fleeting days.
Sleep well, little one. I love you forever.