Celebrating the Last
There’s piles of essays about becoming a mom for the first time. I mean.. entire books. Websites. Blogs. Entire universes where you can search and read about what it’s like to become a mom.
I’m here to talk about celebrating milestones when you know it’s your curtain call. When you know that it’s the last first birthday. The last first steps. The last first words and the last time you take the crib down.
Tomorrow is my baby’s third birthday. And, as the baby of three, I feel each and every milestone of his marked with a subconscious sign that says “remember this”.
With your first you don’t really know. Everything is new; you’re waiting for the next milestone eagerly, waiting for firsts you know are around the corner.
By the second, well. You’re already a mom. You know to sit back and to enjoy these moments, but for me, the crazy contingent of moms who are wanting to expand past two, I had the little secret that this wouldn’t be the last time. There’d be another monster to join my brood and I’d have this chance again.
When my third baby was born I knew he was the baby.
The completion to the algebra equation that becomes ‘when am I done?’.
And with each milestone achieved I sobbed. Real, ugly tears, occasionally on the floor of my kitchen with a bewildered husband wondering what the hell got into me. I mean.. to him every new achievement unlocked meant one more step closer to getting a full night’s rest. (Because he gets up more than I do with our baby… you get smarter with every baby. It’s true.)
I’ve never been one to ‘get it over with’.
My kids are all spaced three years apart so I could relish in the time spent one on one. Little chubby feet and dimpled hands are my happy place. A baby or toddler on my hip, running around makes me crazy but whole. The same way I need a few days away is the same way I crave their little warm bodies curled into me, asleep and not at all concerned with the sleep I’m not getting because they needed to be between daddy and mommy.
All five of us snuggled in bed is a sort of heaven I didn’t know existed. And to be honest, still don’t.
Since all five of us in bed means one is gonna end up crying or flying off at high speeds due to an impromptu wrestling match.
So I made the cupcakes for his birthday today. I texted friends to come over tomorrow night for a gathering fit for the third child- his buds, presents only from family, and a smattering of MY friends who will know why my eyes get misty.
It’s not because he’s so smart and I’m wildly proud- so so proud to be his mommy- it’s because it’s another milestone met with bittersweet tears as my babies grow up and leave their mom wondering where the hell all the time has gone.
And then the ironic laughter that follows because all we want.. us crazy moms, aunts, grandmas- is to have these monsters grow and learn and develop into the type of humans that the world needs.
But tonight, tonight I will allow myself to feel the tears roll down my cheeks as I think about the days gone by as I long for the nights where that newborn couldn’t sleep.
Where the only solace on a fall night was to hold his little body- all seven pounds- against my neck and fall asleep wondering who he’d become.
Happy third birthday baby Grady. You are all I hoped you could be, with a pinch of wild that makes me terrified, but excited, to see what you will do. You are charismatic and hilarious with a soul that is so reminiscent of another guy I used to love, sometimes it stops me in my tracks. Larger than life, a constant source of hilarity for others (not always for your parents you little shit), and our baby no matter how big and strong you will become.
Shit. You better be big and strong. You already trash talk better than most adults.