The Last First Year

We are, without a doubt, not having another child.

It’s physically impossible at this point and there is zero doubt or regret in that decision. We’ve kind of always said if we were fortunate enough, that 3 was a good number for us. So with the addition of our baby girl this past August, we have felt like our family is whole. What I wasn’t prepared for was how heartbreaking the first year of our last child’s life would be.

The firsts that come along with year one are always so exciting. First tooth, first word, first steps. I think it’s safe to say that the first time these babies do very simple human things (eat off a spoon, clap their hands, sleep for X amount of hours), we act as if they just flew to the moon. With our boys, I can remember all the firsts and how excited we were and how we celebrated very small things in very big ways. And yes, they pulled at my heart strings a bit knowing they were growing and changing and going from baby to toddler.

But my hope was that they weren’t my LAST firsts.

She’s walking now. I’ll never have a child take their first couple steps and weeble wobble around the living room. Each day, she’ll get a little better and then she’ll be running. Of course, she was the quickest to walk (to keep up with her brothers, no doubt). So it’s going even faster this time. I wish time didn’t do that…speed up as it goes.

Our oldest lost his first tooth a few weeks ago. I was a wreck wondering how he’d gotten big enough to be losing teeth. I can’t imagine how I’ll be when our youngest loses her first tooth. Because it will both be heart wrenching that she too is old enough to be losing teeth….but also….that there will never be another first lost tooth.

I was prepared for the days to go quickly. I was ready to feel like they grow too fast and to wish time would stand still. Everyone told me. They told me at my first baby shower, they told me in line at the grocery store when two of them were screaming their heads off. My Grandma told me, my friends told me, my coworkers told me. I’ve read it in blogs, books, and social media posts. My Mom tells me how she remembers my first day of school and how it feels like only yesterday.

I know. We all know.

But knowing and being ready are different.

To be fair, there are plenty of first year things I won’t necessarily miss. Blowouts, sleepless nights, the high pitch squeal that is unending, making bottles, washing bottles, and considering 6:30 am “sleeping in.” But, I could deal with all of those things to get just a little bit longer with my baby.

My last baby.

Luckily, I have an endless amount of photos, videos, and social media posts to hold onto and reflect on when I want to remember that joyful first year. I also know the second and third and fourth and every year is filled with just as much joy.  As it goes with all things…they must come to an end.

So here I am, with just a few weeks to prepare for the last first birthday party. Even though I remember planning the first like it was yesterday. I’m torn between wanting to dive in and not wanting to do a thing. Because once it’s planned, it will happen. Then, that first birthday party’s box is checked and done.

I can’t deny there is so much more up ahead to look forward to, but I will miss you, last first year.

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