Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Last Baby

How I'm Feeling About Leaving This Phase Behind

This time ten years ago, Chris and I were getting ready to embark on our parenting journey. Our first son, Max, came into the world April 16, 2007. There is a very real possibility that baby boy #5 could be born on the same day, ten years later (much to Max's chagrin), marking the end of a beautiful era of building our family, that I have so loved.

A decade of excitement of what our family will be is coming to a close. I know that I still have many more years of parenting my five sons ahead, but I cannot help but feel many emotions welling up inside. After all, this stage of life is one that I have longed for, since playing with my baby dolls as a young girl. Eventually, there will always be a last baby, whether that is the first baby or the tenth! The last baby seems so final, bringing the realization that I am leaving something I have loved so much behind. Carrying a baby and watching the miracle of life unfold before my very eyes. Seeing the little one jumping around on the ultrasound screen for the very first time. The excitement and wonder of meeting the new little one who will be such a big part of our lives. Pondering what the new baby will look like, what their personality will be, and if he will be a good sleeper! The anticipation of when he will come, and the exciting drive to the hospital. I have loved it all.

I know in my heart of hearts that this is our last baby. We are at #5 after all, and with each sweet bundle comes more expense, more time, and more energy to give to parenting each unique child. My mini van is now at full capacity, so it only makes sense that this is the last one. Maybe it will take my heart a little bit to catch up to what my mind already knows. But one thing is for sure. I am savoring each sweet moment before this baby boy's arrival. I will miss feeling all the little kicks, reading about the growth and development of the baby each week, and meeting a baby for the first time. The very moment you hear their first cry and your eyes lock on to the tiny miracle of God that has been growing inside you for nine plus months. There is nothing like it. This phase of life has been simply magical.

I am thankful that I have taken some time to mourn now, before my last baby's arrival. I don't want my sadness of him being the last baby to overshadow the excitement of his arrival. I think that by processing these emotions before he comes, I have given myself a gift, a heightened sense of awareness of the need to love and enjoy the brand new baby days as much as possible. To linger in each sweet moment. To enjoy the late night feedings and not be discouraged by the sleepless nights, as they too won't last forever. To cuddle just a little bit longer before needing to make dinner. It is such a bittersweet time in our family, for all of this baby's firsts will be our lasts and the end of something so special is sad.

As I stand in realization that this time in my life is about to come to a close, the big thing that sticks out to me to how fast it has come. It seems like yesterday, Chris and I were taking long walks, just the two of us, imagining what it might be like to be parents. Now, we are about to have five little men under our care! I cannot even wrap my head around how fast the time has gone. As I am about to step into the next phase of life, nurturing our family, I am encouraged with this revelation. As fast as the first ten years have gone, the next ten will speed ahead even faster. The need to be present, enjoy, and love on my boys as they grow is something I want to do well. I want to look back on my motherhood journey with no regrets, not wishing I had done more or loved more. To ENJOY them and each stage they go through. To embrace even the hard parenting moments, for it makes the good moments that much sweeter.  All too soon this time in the trenches of motherhood will be a distant memory.

How about you? How did you know when you were finished building your family? In what ways did you walk this phase of life?