With babies, everyone focuses on the firsts - the first bath, the first smile, the first time they crawl, the first time they walk, their first words . . . the whole first year is filled with firsts. And what I've learned is that even with your third child, each first is just as exciting as it was with your first child. First are fun and exciting and sentimental.
But a baby's first year is also filled with lasts. A lot of time with lasts, you don't even realize it was the last time. The last time Annie used the Moses basket, the swing, the papasan chair, the bouncy seat. The last time she had to be held until she fell asleep. The last time Annie wore 3 month clothes, 6 month clothes, 9 month clothes, and 12 month clothes. The last time she got swaddled before going to sleep. The last time Annie just sat in one place and couldn't move around the room. And, I just realized the other day - Mother's Day and Memorial Day were Annie's last "first" holidays.
When Lily was born, a friend gave me the book Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury. In this gem of a book, the author encourages parents to savor not only their children's "firsts", but the "lasts" as well.
I am so glad I got this book back then because I had never really thought about how important it was to pay attention to the lasts as well. It made me more conscious about it with Maddie and Lily, and I really focused on it so much this first year of Annie's life because everything really was a last. Annie is our last baby, so it truly was a year of lasts.
The other morning I woke up and realized next week we'll be throwing our last first birthday party. 12 months zipped by and here we are - 3 kids later and we're at our last first birthday.
I wrote the above last June. Since then, there have been so many more "lasts". All three girls are changing and growing so much. Sometimes Matt and I will say to each other, "Did you notice Maddie/Lily/Annie doesn't do that any more". We didn't even notice it had stopped until a few weeks later.
Some phases became a "last" and I was thrilled. Most recently, Annie's phase of throwing all of her food on the floor when she was done. Now she hands it to us or puts it on the table.
This past Christmas was the last Christmas we'll need a gate around the Christmas tree so little hands don't touch it. The last time we'll have a baby who is not interested in opening presents on Christmas morning. Probably the last time we'll buy the toys that say 6-36 months.
Recently on our trip to Florida, I turned to Matt and said, this will be our last hardest trip. The last hardest flight with a child on our lap. The next time we travel, each girl will be that much older and that much more independent.
So, as time marches on and my babies grow and change everyday, I'm going to celebrate and pay attention to all of our lasts. They are just as important as our firsts.