Dear sweet “baby” of mine,
There’s so much I want to tell you about the shoes you’ve filled—still the tiniest feet in the house. You may feel small, but you’re mighty. You carry quite a title around these days. It took me a while to realize it, but everything you do is so very important.
Because it’s the last first time I’ll see it.
You see, I always imagined starting a family: the excitement, joy, anticipation, and (justifiable) nervousness of adding a baby to our duo. But whoever imagines finishing it? I never contemplated the feelings that would arise once we decided to finish our family, when we knew you’d always be our baby.
For us, it was a rational decision to say our family was done. We knew once we had you, we wanted no more. You are perfect, so it wasn’t difficult to decide. But we were also eager to start on the rest of the journey of life. We wanted to glide through the milestones, plan the family vacations, live in the moment and not on a fertility clock. We knew what we wanted our future to look like but didn’t always take time to dwell in the present.
No one warned me about getting to each milestone with tearful eyes. Not just because I was so very, very proud of you. Because I am, of everything you do.
But because this was it. There’d be no more first baths, first giggles, first words, first steps.
You are the last of our firsts, and no one tells you how sad it makes you feel.
The sadness isn’t because there’s a longing for more little feet to fill the house. The sadness hasn’t made us want more to bridge the gap and make us live through all these joys once again, though we know you would make the absolute best big sister if that’s what you were meant to be.
The sadness comes with knowing that this phase in our life is done. Once we convert the crib, there’ll be no more sleepless nights of rocking a baby. Once we say goodbye to the diapers, it’s for good. Once we give away the stroller, you’re on your own two feet. Once you cross over that schoolhouse threshold for the first time, there’d be no more very first time we get to do this.
So, did I get to enjoy you enough?
Yes, I worried too much about you beating the clock and developing on the same schedule of your big brother. I rushed the action and asked all the same questions a first-time mom would. At times, I felt like I was doing this for the first time again, mainly to make sure nothing was wrong. And most of that worry was just fear trying to steal my joy. Because having kids comes with every irrational fear that no one warns you about.
So I’ll first start by saying I’m sorry.
I’m sorry I rushed you to walk. You knew what you were doing when you took your first step at 14-months. You wanted to make sure I enjoyed those little booty shaking scoots across the floor a little longer.
I’m sorry I worried about your gummy grin. Your teeth took until almost a year to come in, so I’d relish in your toothless smile. You know, the one that made you look as little as they come.
I’m sorry I worried about all the things I had no control over, and missed enjoying those little moments, a little more.
Yet I’m not here to tell you how sad I feel, though I’m sure you know by now.
I’m here to say I’m so very, very proud of you.
You are rocking the last of the firsts.
You are shining as bright as the stars your brother left to lead the way. Yes, you are following him, but rather than walking, you’re skipping (or whatever mode of getting there you feel like today). And I want you to know that I will be by your side as we skate through the last of these firsts.
But this time in no rush.
You can cry a little longer because you need it, cuddle closer until you want to let go, and be as youthful as you feel. Because each time we move to something new, it means we give something up.
It means it’s that last first time we’ll experience that very moment.
I’m not sure I’m entirely ready for that . . . but I promise to be when you are. And I’ll try to watch you without a noticeable tear in my eye.
You are the last of my firsts, baby, and I want to enjoy you every step of the way.
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