Dear little one,
You’ve turned one, and you aren’t a baby anymore, but I want you to know that you will always be my baby. Your brothers will always be my babies, too, but you are different because you are the last baby. In your first year, time has moved both slowly and quickly. I’ve watched you grow from a tiny little ball that snuggled in the nook of my neck and shoulder, to a squirmy little chatterbox whose legs dangle off my lap as I nurse you to sleep. So big, yet still so little. Your skin is still soft and smooth, and your hair so fine. Your feet and wrists remain chubby; one of the last remaining signs of babyhood. My heart grows each day as I see your personality start to be expressed more and more as you start to walk, talk, and giggle.
I see you playing with your brothers as you jump on top of them, joining in on their fun. Even as you seem so much smaller than they are, you fit right in. Arriving at this moment brings me to an interesting realization that our family is moving forward, and some stages are ending for good. I hadn’t thought about it much until I started to sort through outgrown baby clothes. What do I do with them now, as you most likely our last baby? The thought of getting rid of all of them brings a twinge of sadness.
As amazed as I am at your growth, and how happy I am with our little family, I can’t help but think, “This is the smallest he will ever be again, right now, today. I will never hold a baby this size again who is my own.”
And I can’t get rid of all the baby clothes. I set aside about 75% of our baby clothing to give away, starting with the least worn outfits and/or the outfits that only one or two of my boys wore. The ones that all three of them wore? Oh my heavens…I can’t. I’m packing those away to store in my garage for no one. Well, I guess for myself. I don’t know what I will do with them, if anything. I will probably just look at them again the next time we move or reorganize our garage. I’ll look at those most treasured pieces of cloth and remember.
I’ll remember your sweet baby puppy-like sounds. I’ll remember your skin against mine. I’ll smell them to see if I can remember your baby smell. I’ll remember pulling your tiny arm through that sleeve when you had no control over your limbs. I’ll laugh as I remember all the blowouts and laundry. I’ll remember how perfect you were – and still are. I’ll cry because I know I can’t go back.
I’ll carry this baggage in my garage and in my heart as we look forward to exciting things, like you taking your first steps and finding shoes that actually fit your feet. I am so happy to think of being able to hear you talk and say, “I love you,” and hear you tell me about what you love. Right now I can already understand you asking to play with ‘ball,’ and I love it! I look forward to the fun of less complicated family vacations and easier times at restaurants. I’ll shout for joy when we finish our last box of diapers! There is so much to be proud of and to be grateful for.
But let it be known, you are forever and always my baby. Those long batting eyelashes, teasing grin, and bright eyes that widen when you understand something for the first time are what I’ll see whenever I look at you as the years go by. My baby.