I’ve always said it. There’s something extra special about that last little baby. Each of our children holds their own unique part in our hearts. It’s what sets them apart from your other children. For Lincoln, he is my oldest. He made me a mommy and taught me about true unconditional love. For my Avery, he’s my youngest. My last little baby. The love I have for him is different than the love I have for Lincoln…as it should be. I believe we all love each of our children in different ways that are special to them.
From the moment Avery was born, I knew he was our last baby. I truly embraced every single moment. I knew all of his first milestones would be my last.
I don’t think I every understood the meaning of the word “bittersweet” until I became a mother. Parenting is filled with an abundance of bittersweet moments.
We cheer for our babies when they take their first steps and say their first words. But then we’re brought back to the very beginning. The first time our baby was placed into our arms. The way he’d grasp my finger ever so tightly. How he’d rest his head and curl his body into me when rocking him to sleep.
Those moments are now tucked into my memory. They’re held safe inside of my heart, always there for me to look back on. They bring me joy and sometimes, they fill my eyes with tears. The love I have for my children is so overpowering…and I just cannot believe it’s going by so fast.
My baby is starting preschool and I’m not ready.
Lincoln started preschool at 3 years old as part of an early intervention program due to his speech delay. It was the best thing we could have done for him, and he really thrived. His preschool helped shape the strong, confident 8 year old he is today. I am eternally grateful for the wonderful teachers he had those 2 1/2 years. They truly loved my son.
With Avery, it’s different. I told you how I really tried to soak in every single moment with him, always knowing he was our last baby. However, things changed when we had our car accident 3 1/2 years ago. My little baby was only 14 months old…and I could no longer care for him. I couldn’t rock my baby to sleep. I couldn’t pick him up while he wrapped his little arms ever so tightly around my neck. I couldn’t play with him. I couldn’t even hold him.
Imagine that was you. You’re confined to a hospital bed. You have 15 broken bones, including your neck which is in a collar for 3 months, and both of your legs are in full length casts.
It crushed me.
The time I lost with Avery was the hardest part of my recovery. Not being able to hold my baby was painstakingly unbearable.
Since my recovery, I’ve been trying to make up for the missed time. But the thing is, you can never truly get back time. Those months I lost with my baby are simply gone.
But what I can do, and have done, is cherish the time we do have. It’s almost extra special. I don’t take these moments for granted. In all honesty, I’m lucky to be alive to still build these memories with my children.
When I was in the hospital I saw a psychologist. She asked me to describe how I was feeling about the car accident and my injuries in one word.
Do you know what I told her? Without hesitation, I said “Grateful.”
She seemed surprised by my answer. Maybe she was expecting me to say, “angry or sad, or maybe even scared.” But no. I was grateful. I was still alive. Although I knew my recovery would be extremely lengthy, I was still here to be a mommy.
So yes. Avery is starting Preschool, and I am having a hard time with this milestone. I wish I could go back and somehow make up those missed months. But I can’t.
But I am here to see these milestones. I’m here to see the excitement on my little boys face about meeting new friends, and having his very own backpack like his big brother. I’m here to eagerly watch him learn and grow.
And you know what? He can still climb up on my lap, wrap his little arms around my neck, rest his head on my shoulder, and give me the most fierce hug. Then he sweetly says in his tiny voice, “I love you Mommy.”
Bittersweet indeed. But I’m here to live it.