My baby will be two years old in a few weeks. He is in full-blown toddler mode. No more babies in my house.
No more babies.
Ever since I read a poem called “The Last Time” I’ve been very aware of all the “last times” I’m beginning to experience. I’ve already fed my last bottle. I’ve already spoon-fed my last scoop of baby food and scraped the last bit off his chin. I’ve already swaddled my last blanket into a tight little baby burrito. And I don’t remember those last times. However, last week, my baby allowed me one last experience that I will remember forever.
My almost-two-year-old-almost-a-big-boy let me cradle him in my arms before I put him to sleep.
I don’t mean head-on-my-shoulder type of holding. I mean cradle, like a newborn, in the crook of my arm. He looked up at me, brushed my face with his hand, I smoothed his hair, and we gazed at each other, like we did a long long time ago. Like he remembered. Like he was giving me a precious gift and he knew it. After a few minutes he giggled, squirmed out of my arms and assumed his normal, upright position for the rest of the nighttime routine.
But oh! those few moments. Thank you, my sweet boy.
I knew that was the last time.
You knew that was the last time.
And because of that, I etched it in my mind. I will keep it safe in there and bring it to the forefront when I’m feeling sad or nostalgic. When I watch your little backpack disappearing up the school bus steps, or watch you running around the soccer field, I’ll remember that night. And it will make me smile. So, thank you.
Take a few minutes and read this poem and try to remember that with every passing day, you get closer to another “last.” Remember this when you’re having a rough day and you want to run away from the craziness. That craziness is fleeting. So embrace it. Soak it in. Because one day – sooner than you think – it will be gone and you will ache for it just one more time.
—The Last Time—
From the moment you hold your baby in your arms, you will never be the same. You might long for the person you were before, When you have freedom and time, And nothing in particular to worry about.
You will know tiredness like you never knew it before, And days will run into days that are exactly the same, Full of feedings and burping, Nappy changes and crying, Whining and fighting, Naps or a lack of naps, It might seem like a never-ending cycle.
But don’t forget … There is a last time for everything. There will come a time when you will feed your baby for the very last time. They will fall asleep on you after a long day And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.
One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down, And never pick them up that way again. You will scrub their hair in the bath one night And from that day on they will want to bathe alone. They will hold your hand to cross the road, Then never reach for it again. They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles, And it will be the last night you ever wake to this.
One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus” and do all the actions, Then never sing them that song again. They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate, The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone. You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face. They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.
The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time Until there are no more times. And even then, it will take you a while to realize.
So while you are living in these times, remember there are only so many of them and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them. For one last time.