Twenty four years ago, Valentine's Eve, I gave birth to my last child. Since I was on my fourth Cesarean, I was pretty sure that this was the end of a run. I can still remember asking my obstetrician that fateful question: Can I have more children? And I also remember the look on my mom's face when I told her that I had asked about it. Incredulous, overwhelmed and a teensy angry, she sighed a sigh of relief upon hearing that due to the nature of an overworked incision, I should call it quits, productively speaking.
I knew as I spent my required five days in the hospital, that this sweet time, this time of introducing yourself to this new little person and spending time being cared for while you healed and while your other children are being seen to, was to be my last time in the Sweet Introduction place of mamahood. I was filled with conflicting emotions but the dominant one was: I Shall Savor This Last Go Round Like None Other.
And I have.
I have been a more patient, tolerating mama to this Baby Girl than I was with the other three. I have been able to see things through her eyes much better than I had before. Of course, I was older and 'wiser' but I do believe that the thought that I should not pass this way again, made it more intense, more sweet, more enjoyable than times before.
Make no mistake. All of my children have been amazing journeys. I have learned so much from each of their unique personalities and ways. I have been overwhelmed with mistakes made with each of them. I have been saddened at the errors made in the name of pride and arrogance. I have cherished each stage of all of them in their own individuals lives.
When the end of a time comes, you view things differently. I believe that Baby Girl understood that she was unique in her position from her siblings by being the last one. I remember wishing that she would be the little baby for a long, long time, she was just that enjoyable. But, since she had so many elders in her life, she naturally, grew up the fastest.....Sigh......
So it was with great joy that Hubby and I were able to spend her 24th Birthday with her this past weekend. After an overnight visit to check in with Sweet Adeline, we pushed north the next day to whoop it up with Baby Girl, Her Hubby and of course, Lil Lady. We spent the next 48 hours, cooking, laughing, talking, dancing, playing, shopping, laughing, eating and in general having a wonderful, memorable time. BG and her little fam live in family housing on campus and their square footage totals something like 500 square feet. You do know how memorable a weekend can be with five people in that space? While we climbed over each other, cooked in their kitdinliving room, we laughed over the craziness of it all. But then, it is something that we have come to expect from BG and her tradition of being nontraditional.
So, as I reflect on this day 24 years ago, the day of big beginnings of my life, the letting go of what had been before and the focusing on the next stage, I rejoice in how it all turns out. Just when you think that your time is passed, mothering wise, you find that you get the precious joy of continuing on through the observation of your children parenting children. It is indeed the most awesome spectacle of nature I have ever experienced.
As Baby Girl celebrates her day with her little family, as Her Hubby treats and celebrates and cossets her on her day and as Lil Lady reminds her daily that she is loved, needed and adored, this mama sits back and watches and rejoices.
Ah. The Fifth Act of Life....
How very pleasant it is.....
Happy Birthday, Dearest of Baby Girls!!
(thank you, Britography, britography.com, for the always lovely photos!)