Last month we celebrated Leo’s first birthday, and for the first time since I’ve been writing this blog I didn’t post here to mark it.
I could explain it away by saying we’ve been busy (true), happy (very true) and that I’ve been focusing on being present with my family instead of letting my brain go on holiday to creative, rewarding but very distant places. (Creativity is a wonderful thing, but too much and I start to drift and find myself daydreaming about amigurumi I don’t have time for, poetry I won’t write, and chord changes I’ll never play, and forgetting there’s a world outside our four walls.)
But the truth is I haven’t been able to confront my youngest son’s departure from babyhood. Writing about it would mean facing it and I haven’t been brave enough to do that.
Because we won’t be having any more children.
(That’s the first time I’ve committed it to writing.)
Leo’s birthday wasn’t just the anniversary of his arrival, it was a door we walked through, with our past making squishy babies on one side, and our future raising two strong, kind boys on the other. No more morning sickness, no more scans, no more lists of potential names. No more tiny newborn clothes. No more first cries, first cuddles, first baths. No more sons; never a daughter. No more tiny wrinkly fists wrapped round my finger.
It’s the right thing. It is.
Only I never fully realised how quickly the time would pass, and how short the baby years truly are. I dreamed of parenthood every day up until I held my firstborn in my arms, and that dream consisted mainly of the babies I’d press to my chest and soothe, of breathing in their milky newness. I only ever wanted to be a mother, to feel that moment of overwhelming love and know I’d give anything for the tiny person I’d created. Now all that I dreamed of for 28 years is over, and it didn’t last long enough. I never knew.
But of course it isn’t really over. I wake up every day and I’m still a mother, and I still spend my days kissing, soothing, feeding, loving. I just understand better how fast the rest will disappear too. And it’s absolutely terrifying.
Terrifying and exciting, and so very very precious. I have so much to look forward to, and a greater appreciation for it because I know that sooner than I can imagine I’ll be older, greyer, and a proud mum to two beautiful young men.
I’ll be overjoyed to meet them – but I can definitely wait, as long as I can make it last.
Meanwhile, to my youngest son, my little lion –
The first year of your life was one of the hardest of mine, but also the most rewarding and bright. You make everything around you shine. I see so much of myself in you but also a fire and mischief of your own. I’m your favourite person in the world, and I promise never to take that wonderful gift for granted as long as I have it. Thank you for making my heart whole and completing our family, and bringing so much laughter to our home. I love you more than you could ever know – it’s not your job to, you just carry on being you. Keep smiling and keep shining (but try not to pull your brother’s hair). Here’s to another year of you, beautiful boy. ❤