The memories come back to me as tears flood my eyes remembering that just one short year ago today was the day of your birth. I become so emotional while reflecting on how fast this baby season has zoomed by.
A year ago, our days consisted of multiple nursing sessions and then gentle, sweet sighs as you slept peacefully on my chest in the carrier while I made lunch for your older siblings. The snuggles could be endless if I wanted them to be.
And my baby, I wanted them to be—because I know now that babies don’t keep. Babies don’t keep their soft rolls or their newborn smell or their ability to fall asleep so easily in your arms. It’s part of the beauty and heartache of motherhood—watching your kids grow out of each stage of their childhood.
Now you, my very last baby, are a baby no more. The move to toddlerhood started earlier than I imagined as you’ve been taking steps since only 9 months old. Soon after, nursing began to change dramatically as you became far too distracted by every sister squeal nearby and every light beam that moved. Suddenly, nursing wasn’t the same for us, and you began to push away sooner and ask for it less often. Now, you are too busy keeping up with your four bigger siblings to stop and ask for milk.
You’ve always proven to have a strong, determined and independent personality compared to your siblings. Even when you were born—you were my only baby to arrive before your due date!
I admire and appreciate that about you, as I am a mom of five who already does so much for others. It is quite helpful to have a little one who desires doing things on their own.
But still, it breaks my heart knowing that my last baby is in a hurry not to be the baby anymore.
While I love having a less achy back (because I no longer carry you everywhere) and while I love watching you explore the house, gain momentum in your zombie walk, and discover the joy of everyday playful moments with your family—my most favorite moments with you are found in another place.
My favorite part of the day with you is just before bedtime. It is then that you are my sweet, cuddly baby once more.
It is there, in the dim of your room, when nursing is acceptable again and even needed for that last bit of comfort and fuel for a good night’s sleep.
It is in those moments just after nursing when you babble contently and then find your thumb to suck signaling that you are ready for sleep.
It is when you still allow me to hold you, even after we stand up to move to your crib when you lay your head down on my shoulder, willing me to snuggle just a little longer.
It’s when you gaze at me with your joyful blue eyes, smile behind your thumb—revealing your newly-grown teeth—and kick your little feet gently against the tummy you used to live in.
Our pre-bedtime routine brings us back to where we were a year ago, to my tiny newborn. Our routine is a task only I have been able to do since then. I treasured it then, and I’ll continue to cherish it now.
Snuggling on my chest, us both content with the feel-good-oxytocin flowing from nursing, the smell of your sweet fuzzy head close to my nose, and an endless supply of kisses to lay upon your squishy cheeks—is one of the absolute best moments of my day. I can’t get enough time with you, sweet girl.
It’s these moments that help me hold on to you, my last baby, a little bit longer. Because I know in another blink of an eye you will be 10 like your oldest sister—and won’t fit in my arms any longer.
So for now, my baby, I’ll hold onto these moments with you. For as long as you’ll let me.
Leah hails from the friendly south, has an addiction to cute coffee mugs and is a mom to 5. Her passion for writing blooms from her experiences in life—specializing in open adoption, natural birth and encouragement in the trenches of motherhood. Read more at The Grace Bond.