Since having Leo, I’ve taken a few minutes every couple of weeks – maybe five, maybe fifteen, whatever I get – to document my babies, because their littleness is slipping away quickly. It doesn’t feel so long ago that I first met my sweet Adelaide, yet here she is, about to start kindergarten. And while most of the time I don’t grieve that at all, and just look forward to every new thing my children do and learn, and every way I get to know them more deeply and hear their thoughts and ideas more completely expressed and watch their personalities shine, there’s something about a last baby that will make you grieve. It’s not a deep sadness, because every day is a joy and a blessing and a chance to know each child more fully, but this time around, every first also marks a little last.
Some of these lasts are happy ones, but some feel much more sad than I expected. While I look forward to so much with these three as they grow, perhaps for the first time, I am trying not to look too far ahead. I am trying to fully embrace each moment, knowing every diaper I change brings me one step closer to the last diaper I’ll change; every nighttime feeding brings me one feeding closer to the last time I’ll ever nurse a baby at night; every exhausting task that seemed daunting with a first – how will I ever make it through this at all, let alone again?? – is something that is nearly behind me forever. Though I’ll spend the rest of my life as a mother, these little years are more behind us than ahead.
A last baby is truly bittersweet.