Well tomorrow is the day I knew I could not avoid. My baby is turning one.
It's a miracle to watch a baby grow during the first year. You only lay that baby down to bed 365 times and he turns from being a rooting little lump of cuteness to a speed crawling, cheerio eating, babbling personality. For all the work and energy that babies require it is nothing compared to the joy they bring. The word "blessing" is the closest I can get to describe the privilege.
Knowing that John will be my last baby has caused me to savor this year like none other. I have complete peace in knowing that my body has reached it's baby carrying capacity. It is only by God's particular design that I was even able to carry our last two children to term. But this tent has worn out in that area and I'll be the first to admit it.
I've allowed myself to grieve this fact somewhat. My kids think that I'm a little crazy. Like the time when I put away the newborn clothes and they found me crying and smelling each one before I boxed it away. "You never fold clothes like that, are you okay?"
When John was born Elizabeth (5 at the time) who is our drama queen/singer girl wrote a song which she presented to me at the hospital:
Baby John, Baby John,
I love you Baby John,
I love you with your mommy Baby John, Baby John,
I love you Baby John.
It was so sweet and I actually have it recorded for all time.
My favorite memories are the ones in which I witnessed my children praying for and interacting with their brother. They prayed while I was pregnant that he would in fact be male (especially Joseph), they have included him in their play (starring as baby Moses in the basket), they have found joy in teaching him how to discover and grow, they protect and nurture him, they love him.
It has been a precious year.
My rational side says that a mother just doesn't grow babies, she is nurturing children that will grow into adulthood all too soon. There is so much teaching, discipline, and work yet to be done.
But I will miss that moment when I first realized that there was a baby growing inside. Telling Sean the good news. The months of kicking and hicupping. The moment when we realize "It's a girl!" or "It's a boy!" and then sharing that good news with the waiting loved ones. Sleeping on the couch with that sighing newborn. Being on the recieving end of the first smile and baby belly laugh. Outstretched arms. Chubby fingers and toes....
It is so good.
God has been teaching me this past year that my work as a mother, whatever the stage, is good work that He has prepared in advance for me to do. I know that my work these next few years are entering a new stage for which I am excited. It's time for building.
I want to savor each year to come as I have this last as I watch God working in and through each of my children as individuals. There is still much growing to be done.