It’s harder this time. Harder to let go of the stages as they pass. You are the last – there won’t be anyone so small in this family until and unless you welcome children of your own.
Your baby days are racing by, with your birth feeling so distant already. You were so small and so fragile. We held you so gently among the lights and monitors in the NICU, encouraging you to drink and thrive. And you did! So quickly that it seems every blink revealed new babies. Now, when you’re at the breast and I reach down to keep your strong, chubby legs from kicking me, I squeeze them so my hands will remember. These thighs, these rolls, these legs with strength but no coordination, with energy but no control. Soon they will grow longer, leaner, and carry you away from me as I clap and cry at your amazing success. I squeeze them, every time. I need my hands to remember, in case my mind won’t.
There’s so little time for me to drink it in. So little time to record and write and preserve these memories for when I’m old and you’re too grown-up for snuggles and silliness. So forgive me, as you grow, if I kiss you too much. If I lose the thread of your story because I’m staring at your hands in mine and wondering when they got so big. Forgive me if I use my baby names for you in front of your friends. I just need to hang on to the sweetness of what you are right now, because as wonderful as you’ll be every day as you grow, you are the last of my babies, and I love you so.