These Moments

“Mommy, can I hold you?” She holds her arms up in the air, opening and closing her tiny hands and batting those gorgeous blue eyes at me.  The answer is always yes.  I scoop her up and she lays her curly blonde head on my shoulder.  “I love you, mommy.”   My insides turn to jelly.

She’s my girl. My Anna.  Twenty-six pounds of sweetness and spunk.

The Spunk

The youngest of five, Anna is naturally spoiled.  From the moment she was born, people have fawned over her–me, her daddy, her sister, her brothers, her grandparents, church members, strangers in the street.  Really, it’s beyond ridiculous.  We’re creating a monster but I can’t bring myself to stop telling her how beautiful and smart she is.  I can’t help holding her every time she asks.  I can’t help marveling over every little thing she does. I can’t help it because I know she’s the last baby I’ll ever have.  I can’t help it because I know in the blur of raising her older brothers and sister, I missed valuable moments.  The guilt of that is overwhelming, though I know it’s not a unique experience to me.  All mothers, especially young mothers, get lost in the lack of sleep, the frustration, the uncertainty of parenting.  By the time we learn to relax and just go with it, our babies aren’t babies anymore.  We’ve missed the joy.  Anna is my chance to recapture it.

When I held her as a newborn and smelled that sweet baby head, when she smiled at me for the first time, when she said her first word, took her first steps, tasted her first lemon, gave herself her first haircut, I remembered my other children doing the same things.  When she says, “Look at me!” and does a dance or makes a funny face, I remember all the performances I’ve watched over the last thirteen years.  She’s my trip down memory lane.  I thought those memories were gone, but with every new thing Anna does, they rise to the surface, whispering, “Remember when…?”

With my last child, as with my first, I’m learning how to be a parent. This time, it’s not about when and what to feed them, how often to change diapers, when to call the doctor, or when to put them to bed.  It’s about spending time with them, listening to their stories, and  marveling at their accomplishments.  It’s about watching them grow into the people they’re going to be and seeing all the little things that brought them there.

It’s about living in the moment.

Baby Blues

The Diaper Hat Moment

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34 thoughts on “These Moments

  1. I totally get this. I only have 3 but the youngest gets away with everything..because we let him..and because we want to hold on to all of his firsts since he is the last.

  2. Tears in eyes! Oh, wow. I can so relate. Such a great post! And what a cutie she is! I am blessed with just one little joy (Olivia, age 5) but I can still relate. I try to live “in the moment” every day and hang onto the NOW. Sometimes, when I’m out running errands (my hub and I both work from home) I drive by her preschool and have to will myself, with every fiber in me, not to stop just for one more squeeze. One more sniff of her delicious blonde hair. (((sigh)))

  3. Living in the moment is the best we can do. Living in a future that isn’t guranteed is as good as ignoring the present which is all around us.

    Great post. Love the last line 😉

  4. Yup. Same story here. Literally. I have 5 kids too. The baby goes to kindergarten this fall. I pray for his teacher. ; ) Erin

  5. And people always wonder why the youngest child always gets spoiled?

    I’m the youngest of 7 kids and I think I turned out all right. Though, my bothers and sisters always complained how spoiled I was. For the longest time I didn’t agree with them. I didn’t see what they saw. My parents were poor, and I certainly wasn’t spoiled with material things. By the time I came around, all my other brothers and sisters were grown and out of the house. We didn’t have much, but what we did have was a lot of love.

    It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that I WAS spoiled. Not in the traditional way, but in the sense I had my parents undivided attention.

    I say you’re doing the right things. Keep doing what you are doing. The best gift we can give our children is our time.

    Michael A. Walker
    Defying Procrastination

  6. This was so true and wise. I wish a had taken to savoring the joy sooner. BTW- Your adorable baby can ROCK a diaper hat. 🙂 Ellen

  7. My youngest child certainly gets more attention from me than her older siblings, partly, as you mentioned, because I’m older and more relaxed, but mostly just because I’m out of the navy and at home, now.

  8. I think I finally understand now why my youngest brother (#4) got all the attention — it just took three decades and your blog for me to get it. So sad. (And Diaper Hat may be one of my favorite pictures of all time. All. Time.)

    • Yeah, my brother was spoiled rotten, too. Until your comment it didn’t occur to me that it was because he was the last, too. That’s really sad. It’s hard to override the fact that he never had to do dishes and got away with murder. I don’t care if he was the last or not. It’s not fair! 🙂

      I love the Diaper Hat.

      Sorry it took me so long to respond. Your comment got sent to Spam and I didn’t see it until now.

  9. She couldn’t be more adorable! I love that you hold her and melt every time she asks. My little one gets much of my attention, much to the dismay of my oldest. Time to give both a hug!

    • Yes, I tend to yell at the older ones more because they have more responsibilities to shirk. Although my oldest does not want me to hug him, I still do it. He loves it. He just doesn’t realize it.

  10. I love diaper hats!!

    I feel like my experience has been the opposite — my firstborn was so special because he was so darn hard to conceive. And my second born was perfect because she was the easiest baby ever created. And then we had twins and I am so exhausted from just getting through the day with four kids 14mos-7years that I have to keep reminding myself to enjoy it while my wee ones are wee.

    • I can understand that. My first two were 15 months apart and it was a hectic time. My youngest was 4 when the last was born, so I’ve had more time to enjoy it. We do the best we can.

  11. Love the spunk! And I totally hear on living in the moment. I really need to work on doing that with my own daughter.

  12. Pingback: Coming to a Close | JM Randolph, accidentalstepmom

  13. My first is due this summer but this is the kind of parenting lessons I hope and pray to follow right from the start. Thanks for such a great story.

  14. I love this post. It really made me tear up because I can so identify with it. I only have 2 and that’s probably it, but my baby boy….he’s the last and I feel differently. and I am still learning so much. I love that you have 5. And that sounds so exhausting I am going to take a nap!

    • The last is special. I look at my 13yo, who is taller than me and suddenly has a man voice, and I wonder where the time went. Life needs a pause button. It goes by so very fast.

      Sorry it took me so long to respond, but your comment went to my spam folder. I hate when that happens.

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