To my youngest, most notably, my last:
Today I made your bottle and at the same time, I poured myself a cup of coffee. In my mind I was going to sit down, sip my coffee and feed my baby. I was lost in the dilution that this would be 30 minute snuggle session, like it was just a few short months ago. One where I would hold you, hold your bottle and watch you slowly drink it while sipping my freshly poured coffee. But, instead, I picked up all 11 months and 23 pounds of you and sat down to face reality. You threw yourself back, grabbed your bottle, and within 2 minutes guzzled all 6 ounces. Then you threw the bottle and rolled to get off my lap and there you were, onto the next thing. I never even took a drink of my coffee. I sat there looking at you and loving where you are but, at the same time, so desperately wishing we could go back to that day last May that we first met you. Not to do it over, just to do it again.
And then just a few minutes later, I turned around to see that you’d found your balance. You smiled and squealed with excitement at what you accomplished. I, too, felt the excitement. Part of me wanted to encourage you to take a step you brave, sweet boy. But the other half of me wanted to slowly ease you back down to the floor because I don’t know if my heart is ready for those last, first steps.
And just last week I set a banana on your tray to mash up and feed you. Before I could even do that, you grabbed the whole half of the banana and just started taking bites. You smiled, danced a little, and looked at me like, “look mom, I can do it!” I smiled back but inside a piece of me broke realizing that soon you would never need me to spoon feed you again. No one in our house would.
Everyday you’re learning new things. Just the past two weeks you’ve learned to clap, and wave, and say “doggie” and “uh-oh.” Although, you really say, “uh-uh” which is so incredible perfect but I know one day, very soon, you will actually say “uh-oh” correctly. Your “uh-uh” will just be a memory that your daddy, your sister, and your brothers and I will, hopefully, never forget.
You can bend down and stand back up without thinking. You definitely know your name and turn around as soon as you hear it. You’ve learned to fight for what you want, when something doesn’t go just right you’ve found your voice and can express yourself with a scream. This makes me proud of who you’re becoming but also makes me mourn the loss of the littler, more innocent you. You can take your own hat off just moments after I put it on. Repeatedly actually. You can point. You’ve learned that I’m your safe place. When someone new talks to you, you bury your head on my shoulder. Please don’t ever stop that. You see little man, I’ve noticed. I’ve noticed every little thing about you and that they are all changing just a little too fast for your mommy.
In just a few short weeks you’re going to be 1. One entire year old. How did that happen? How will I bring myself to get rid of your baby bottles, even though I’ve dreaded washing them so many times this past year? How will I throw that last canister of baby formula in the recycle bin, even though I know milk will be so much simpler? How was it that some of those days, and nights mostly, when you were first apart of our lives, seemed SO long but now suddenly 365 of them are over. Just gone. In the moment, some of those days and nights were so hard and occasionally I wished for them to be over. Often actually. What I wouldn’t have given for just a few more hours of sleep. The second you fell asleep at night, in those first few months, I fought to get myself to bed as fast as possible to try to catch up. Now, I find myself sneaking into your room before bed just to watch you lay there sleeping.
I truly love watching you learn, grow and become you. Even more than that, I love watching your daddy, sister and brothers share my love for watching those things. You’re a lucky lucky boy to be the youngest member of this family. What’s even more special is that ALL of us will remember you as a baby and all of your firsts, not just me and your daddy. But for now, let’s just slow them down. It’s happening too fast. I understand how important it seems to keep up with your big brothers and sister, I really do.
But remember… you’re my baby, my LAST baby.
Be still my heart.