We are done having babies. We wanted two, and have been fortunate enough to have two. Each one is the most perfect version of themselves that we could have asked for, and our family feels complete. But just because Luke and I are on the exact same page of the no-more-babies book, doesn’t mean it’s easy to watch my last baby get bigger.
I put off planning my last baby’s first birthday party. I joke that it’s because he’s the “poor, neglected second child” and I was being lazy, but really it’s because my heart aches a little bit every time I think about it. He’ll have his first taste of cake at the party. He might cry, he may stare at it confused, he might go in head first and barely come up for air. Regardless, this party will be the last time I get to see my baby experience cake for the first time.
I wasn’t really consciously aware of it at the time, but I took comfort as Thea got older in the idea that she wasn’t my last baby. It was okay that she wasn’t napping in my arms anymore, that she was walking instead of crawling, that she was calling me “Mom” instead of “Mama”. Because someday I’d have another baby and get to experience all those things again. Well, that “another baby” is here. In fact, he’s almost a year old. My last baby doesn’t nap in my arms anymore. He’s still crawling, and he’s only just started calling me “Mama”, but someday those things, too, will be only memories.
My last baby will stop nursing. He will stop needing me to hold his utensils. He will bath and dress himself. He will cross streets without holding my hand. He will continue to get older and though he will still need me, it will be in different ways than it is now. And when he stops needing me for something, it will be the last time that I am needed in that particular way. Don’t get me wrong, I rejoice in his achievements, his milestones. I’m thrilled he sleeps through the night and is adjusting well to daycare. Getting to watch him grow is nothing short of magic. But once in a while, when he’s sleeping in his crib, a part of me wants to go pick him up for one more snuggle, while I can still pick him up at all.
Please don’t talk to me about grandkids, because that is likely decades in the future, if at all (it will not be my decision to make), and it is quite simply, different. And please, please don’t condescend to me with comments of “you say you don’t want more now, but in a few years…”. Just because I’m sad to see this phase of my life come to an end does not mean I’ll someday want to go back to the beginning of that phase and do it all over again. We are ready to move on with our lives as a family of four. It just means I’m crying about my last baby’s first birthday coming up a little bit more than I did for my first baby’s first birthday. And that’s okay.