Motherhood: The First Last Time
I knew it was bound to happen. I knew at some point I would find myself experiencing my first last time moment as a mom. I didn’t know when it would come, but there I stood this evening watching him show me that sweet moment we used to have was no longer a necessity of our relationship.
I know that there have been dozens that happened before. The newborn stage had come with many, but some of those I secretly was okay with letting go and passing off as just the stage of life the first 3 months were. Not this time, though. Though the 4th and now working into the 5th month have been trying now that he is very aware of the world around him and wants to be active constantly (yeah the whole they learn to sit and be content thing I think we flew past…he only wants to walk and crawl). Add in the inevitable 4 month sleep regression and you can imagine that my body has been flung into a level of exhaustion that I wasn’t aware could be possible. It is a time I know will pass but between the moments I can barely stay awake or my body is sore from hauling him in all the positions he wants around the house while balancing work, I am finding joy in the joy he has for the world.
Then tonight, as I fought a very tired little guy who is teething and growing I found myself realizing how fleeting this moment was. He fussed and wanted his pacifier and wiggled and pushed and fought me while I tried to settle him and remind him it was bedtime. Then I realized the reason he was fighting me was because the way he was laying in my arms was a way he no longer wanted me to hold him. I moved him up, head on my shoulder and there in seconds he relaxed. Maybe it was just because of teething or something else, but in that moment I realized that our routine and the sweet little cuddles he would do into my arm may have passed. It was then that I realized I was recognizing my first experience of a last time in the relationship of a mother and a child. You think about the big last moments such as your last time breastfeeding them at night or the last time they want to snuggle with you in bed or the last time they want you to hold your hand or the ultimate of them flying the nest. I didn’t think about how it would feel to experience a last time for the first time.
I walked out of the room after I wished him goodnight and gave him a kiss with a bittersweet feeling of victory for him doing his last wiggles before he falls asleep like he always does and a sadness that things will be different tomorrow. There is both relief and grief in those moments. You know as a mom that you are doing good and your child is growing, becoming their own, getting bigger…your ultimate job, but that from here on out you will continue to let them fly out on their own a little teeny tiny bit each moment from here on out. This technically begins at birth, quite literally, but I never realized it till tonight as I walked out of that room.
Motherhood continues to surprise me at how it shifts me, changes me, strengthens me, and humbles me. This was just another one of those moments I realized how important it is to stay present as much as I possibly can no matter how much I wish for the freedom I felt two years ago or the off-time I used to take for granted. Ultimately there is no gift greater than this and to watch him smile and take in the world is more rewarding than any level of freedom ever would be, though some times it can be hard to remember that.
As I closed the door to our room where Hayes was dozing off, I stood just long enough to hang in the moment of bedtime and let it wash over me, knowing that one day there would be a last time for that as well. A last shutting of his door after saying goodnight. A last coo from him as he can only do at 4 months. A last kiss on his soft cheeks. In that moment I might be less surprised by how it makes me feel, but there is no way it will be less bittersweet.
So moms, have you had your experience of feeling your first last time? What was the moment? I would love to hear.