That's my baby, my last baby, sound asleep in his big boy bed. Of course the littlest gent is not a baby any more. "I not baby!" he insists emphatically with stormy brow. But he's the last of my babies and I find myself reluctant to let go of his babyhood, wanting to savor every last sweet second of it before he's hulking around with smelly feet and acne, inhaling everything he can find in the fridge.
Until last night, he'd been sleeping in our bed, then in his own bed pushed up against ours, crawling back to snuggle with Mama in the early hours of the morning. Yesterday, we ("we," in this case meaning mostly loving husband) put his brothers into bunk beds and moved the baby into the Big Boy Room. This is the very first time since two weeks into my marriage to loving husband that I haven't been pregnant, or sharing the bed with a little one, or both. The very first time in over seven years.
"Hooray! What a big boy! You get to sleep in the Big Boy Room!" I crowed to my fine little gent.
"I can't wait to have the bed all to ourselves," I told loving husband.
"Won't it be nice to have room to stretch?" I asked.
"There's going to be so much space in here without that extra bed," I said.
The bed felt empty this morning.
There was lots of room to stretch, and the bedroom seems spacious again without his bed next to ours. But....no warm little one snuggled next to me, sharing my pillow. No sweet smile when I open my eyes. No "Hi Mama," whispers.
It's been a year of growing up for our family. Our younger lovely lady is slowly leaving her girlhood behind. "I don't really play with dolls any more," she told a younger friend as she passed on an armful of dolls. I'd noticed, but to hear her say it like that, oh, my heart clenched. "Wait!" I want to cry. "Wait! I'm not ready for this! Just one more year! Just a little more time!" Her lovely older sister is returning to high school in the fall, giggling to her friends on the phone about dances and classes and teachers and boys. "Come back!" I want to shout to the little girl with the freckles and the sweet smile. "Where are you going?"
And now this. I want to say "Wait! Wait for me! I'm not ready!" I know it's time. They have to grow up and move on, they've got their whole lives to live. But I wish, I wish, I wish that I could press pause, just for a year, a month, a week. Even for just a day. One more minute. One more snuggle. One more morning kiss, a day with dolls, an afternoon reading on the couch. A tea party. One more sweet smile.
Life is precious. It goes by us so quickly. Kiss your babies and hug them tight.