We have three wonderful children, and we are not having any more. Really. Not even if I wanted to. The fact that we were actually able to have our third child is a miracle in itself. A year prior to becoming pregnant with her, I was told it would be nearly impossible to get pregnant again. My reproductive organs were deteriorating, and time wasn’t on my side. I tried to not be upset, as we already had two beautiful children, but the thought that I couldn’t have any more children, even if I wanted to, got me down. It was a very joyous day when I found out I was pregnant with her, and I feel so blessed to have three happy and healthy children to this day.
Now my baby, the baby of our little family, has just turned 8 years old. She has grown into a smart, independent, out spoken, big hearted little lady, and the fact is, she just isn’t a baby anymore. None of my children are. As I sit back and think of how I am now the parent of a fifteen year old, an eleven year old, and an eight year old, I ask myself, “where did all of the time go?” And, as I think even longer about how my children have grown, I realize that, with each milestone that my third child has hit, it is with her that my last set of firsts are held. The first night home from the hospital, the first steps, the first word, the first tooth……I will no longer experience any of these firsts again. It is a humbling feeling.
When she started kindergarten two years ago, this thought of no more firsts hit me hard. My husband and I dropped her off in her classroom. She was filled with excitement, and nervousness. I stayed by her, and told her she could tell me when she was comfortable with me leaving. A few minutes passed, and, as she looked around the classroom at all of the other new students, she looked at me and said, “You can go Momma.” My husband and I kissed her goodbye, and we went to the car. I could already feel the sadness consuming me, and took the passenger seat. I shut the door and instantly began to sob…….I sobbed all of the way home. My husband kept looking at me, and asking if I was okay. We pulled into the driveway, and he said, “what is all of this about!”
What is all of this about?!? It’s about how reality and time have just smacked me in the face! It’s about how our baby is now in school, and we have just concluded our last first day of kindergarten ever. We will never experience the excitement and sense of the unknown of kindergarten again. This chapter is closed. And so it continues. There are a lot of firsts that have been our last, and they are so bittersweet.
Through it all I have come to realize that there is still so much more ahead. For instance, this year we were able to experience our oldest daughter’s first day of high school. This was a first first for us as parents, not a last first, and let me tell you, I left the school teary eyed that morning, too. Though it is sad that the kids are no longer little, it is so exciting to watch them grow. I am so proud of the caring, independent people they are turning out to be. The challenges that we face as parents, going head on into new situations, are just as thrilling as some of the firsts that I miss. There will be first high school graduations, first child leaving the nest, first weddings, first grandchildren, and so on. And though, those firsts will too become last firsts eventually, I am so excited for the future and for what it has in store for us all. I will always hold tight the firsts that are past, but I feel that I appreciate the new firsts with a fuller heart. Every moment counts. I have to soak it all in.