My husband thinks I’m a little crazy. Maybe I am, but I’m fairly certain it’s the standard sort of crazy that comes with being a mom, or maybe just being a woman in general. He thinks I’m crazy because I get emotional over things like giving away baby clothes, switching from a car seat to a booster, and long “baby” legs hanging off my lap.
My daughter’s loose tooth stirred up emotions in me that, surely, a tiny tooth is unworthy of. That husband of mine looks at me with a cocked eyebrow and amused smirk whenever these things come up, but I can’t help it. You see, this daughter….this 4-and-a-half-year-old daughter….she’s our baby. She’s THE baby.
It happens in every family. It isn’t always the same story, but it’s the same ending. Because childbearing comes to an end. No one goes on having babies forever. (Damn, you, menopause!) Those babies grow, and they grow fast. Mothers all over the world urge younger mothers to savor it, because it goes by so fast.
Some couples make a decision to be done with adding to their family, and so they know when the last is the last. They savor every milestone, knowing they won’t observe it ever again. Maybe that makes it easier, or maybe it makes everything bittersweet.
Some couples think they know when the last is the last, and then are surprised with a second (or third!) round of lasts. I imagine that’s all kinds of emotional ups and downs.
Some couples don’t realize they are in the “last days” until they are well into them. Perhaps secondary infertility comes upon them, or they had planned to have more but changed their mind.
I fall into this last camp, of being caught unaware. My babies arrived at fairly regular intervals – every 18 months to two years – for twelve years. My family grew steadily, and we rejoiced and thanked God for every blessing. We knew He would plan our family perfectly! And while I knew there would be an end, I didn’t know when it would be for us.
I still don’t know that it is the end, but as I mentioned before, my “baby” is going on five years old. When that tiny tooth came out, in the middle of dinner, and I exclaimed and teared up and declared her to be “so old” yet “still my baby,” my family chimed in.
We listed all the things that are no longer part of our lives….nursing, diaper bags, pacifiers, sippy cups, strollers, and car seats. And then my kids melted my heart when they expressed their desire for more siblings.
“I want a baby brother!” My youngest boy is my number three child, with five sisters following him. Since he was able to talk, he’s been wishing for a little brother, and as a teenager, he still feels that way.
“I want TWIN baby brothers!” The idea of a baby boy is a novelty after the string of girls, so that sentiment is shared. And of course…twins! So much more exciting.
“Hey, maybe Baby Sawyer is already on the way.” My oldest son, who is practically a man (sob!) chimed in with this comment, accompanied by a big grin. We had the name Sawyer picked out for the last three pregnancies, and yes, it was due to our obsession with LOST.
I smiled through my mixed emotions and thought, “Wow. God is so good!”
In January, I wrote about the sense of failure I struggle with, never feeling I am doing a good enough job with my family. This night, though….the night of the Last First Loose Tooth….filled me with relief that something had gone right. It was just a few minutes out of what might have been a difficult day, but to God be the glory!
There was no, and never is any, expression of, “Ugh, no! No more babies!” from any of my children. Sometimes you hear of kids from large families who grow up to renounce and detest the idea of many children. My heart aches at that possibility, but so far, so good.
My children know family is important.
My children know babies are blessings.
My children know siblings are valuable.
Mama might be crazy, but she sure is blessed!