Monday, December 27, 2010

First Goodbyes

I need some blog therapy tonight. I was fine all day today- I played with the kids, made cookies, did some laundry, talked to Amy on the phone, spent time with a good friend and neighbor, and then- at 7:00pm tonight, as I put Lydia into her crib for bedtime-it hit me. This is the last time that I will lay an under-one-year-old baby into bed for the night. Ever. As I covered Lydia with her favorite brown and pink polkadot blanket that she has slept with every night since her first two days in the hospital, I started to sob. Crocodile tears- the kind that makes your mascara run. Shoulders shaking, I sat in the kids' bathroom and wondered where in the world this flood of emotion was coming from. Since June of 2006, I have carried a baby either inside of my body or in my arms without ceasing- that is, until tonight. No, Lydia will not miraculously begin to walk and talk in the next few hours, but she will no longer be considered an infant. For the past five years, being the mother of an infant has become a part of my identity- both to myself, and I am sure as well to others- and letting go of that identity is hard. Now listen, before rumors spread- I am not regretting the decision to not have more children- the no-trespassing/eviction notice is forever tattooed on my womb. That chapter is closed and I recognize that. It's just that tonight I'm realizing  this particular moment in time will soon be recaptured only in memories and pictures. The next time I put my hand on a pregnant mother's belly (with permission), I'll remember sitting on the couch in the first house that Bill and I ever lived in as a married couple, watching The Apprentice, when I felt Brooke kick inside me for the very first time; or screaming in line at Wendy's restaurant after the first hard karate kick from Isaac.  I will hold someone else's newborn in my arms, and smell that sweet new baby aroma, and remember back to when that was my own baby; I'll wonder how life passes so quickly, while thinking back to the moment that I met each one of my children for the very first time. I know that love at first sight really exists; I fully understand that, in a single moment a person can feel all of life's pain and then all of life's joys, willing to do it all over again just to hear that precious first cry.

Every first in my babies' lives has become a memory- the first smile, losing the cord, recognizing mama and dada, rolling over, moving out of the bassinet and into the crib in their own room(that has always been a big tear-jerker) sitting up, saying mama, holding a toy in their hand, playing with their siblings, eating solid food... I have loved every single milestone. And now I have to say goodbye to the first- year -of -life milestones. I'm sorry if I sound very dramatic at this point, but this has been my life for more than six years, and the time has truly been like a vapor.

My favorite saying in this part of my life is "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." Honestly, I'm doing both right now. I am wiping away tears just so I can see the computer screen, but smiling because I recognize I have been blessed far beyond what I deserve. To Brooke, Madeline, Isaac, and Lydia- being your momma is an absolute honor, and it is a gift from our Father that I do not take lightly. I love you so much, and I look forward to raising you, teaching you, and enjoying each one of your many firsts to come. There will be the first ballet recitals, the first ballgames, the first Kindergarten graduations, the first grade school crushes, and the first sleepovers. You have so much childhood left, and I intend to soak up every second of it. And Lydia, sweet dreams my baby girl. I wonder how you will react to your first taste of cake tomorrow.