Last Days

Many of you are probably already familiar with Emily over at The Waiting. Once a week, she does a blog hop. I’m not much of a hopper since I hurt my knee and all, but last week’s topic has gnawed on me like a toddler with biting habit. It won’t let me go. The topic was “last days.”

I’m late to the game. I should have linked up a couple of days ago. I should be writing about “back in the day,” but this is my day. I hope Emily won’t mind me bending the rules a little. I wanted to at least credit her for the idea because it’s a big one, and I thank her for it. I think.

I’m currently living my last days. Not most literal sense, although last week I lost someone dear very suddenly, and I can’t ignore the fact that any day could be my last. I’m living my last days with a little kid.

There has been a little kid in my house for the last sixteen years. When one reaches the stage of official Big Kid, there has been another right behind them to fill the role of baby. That’s not true here anymore. Squish marks The End.  As parents, we get all excited about firsts; first smiles, first steps, first Christmas. I was always too busy to notice the milestones marking the lasts.

Indeed, some of those Last Days come as a relief. You won’t find me counting diapers among my painful losses. I was more than happy to see the end of those years days when Squish was too shy to let anyone hold him but me. And I’m definitely not weeping over gaining a little freedom and getting to have date nights again. Having a life is a beautiful thing, but it’s bittersweet.

A week ago, I set Squish’s car seat on the curb. ***  He’s used it for almost five years. It was one of those convertible numbers that takes them from birth to big boy booster seat, and it did. We brought him home from the birthing center in this seat, and since then we’ve put thousands of road miles on it. And now he’s too big. Too big. All grown up. He has graduated to a booster seat. Our big and bulky car seat has seen its last days with our family.

On Friday, our preschool did a Thanksgiving lunch for parents. On Friday, I watched Squish parade around the gym with his classmates, shaking a maraca (and his bum-bum, but we won’t talk about that) and singing “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho.” His joy brought tears to my eyes. He is changing every day. For how much longer will he wave in frenetic delight when he sees me in the audience? How many more concerts will he perform at the top of his lungs before confidence melts away into self-consciousness? Childhood is a paradox. It drags on forever and is gone before you know it.

I’m living in my Last Days as a stay-at-home mom, as well. I’m looking for a job, an income, a new part of my identity, a career that will help fill in the blanks that I feel at the moment.

It’s not all bad. This time of transition has presented some marvelous opportunities for messing with my husband. Since I haven’t landed The Job yet, I told him I thought we should have another baby. He’s pretty sure I’m kidding, but that 1% of doubt is giving me such delight. And he skims longer blog posts, so there’s a good chance he’ll miss this paragraph entirely. I hope he does. I need a little more mileage. I’ll let him off the hook in a week or so.

Don’t worry about me. I’ll be alright. Where there are lasts, there will also be new firsts, and I’m looking forward to them. I’m ready.

Squish

I can still see the baby in him.

 

*** Don’t yell at me. I didn’t want to send it to a landfill, either, but it’s illegal to resell them here, even in thrift stores. I set it on the curb in the hopes that another family might adopt it. It was gone when I got home.

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45 thoughts on “Last Days

    • Definitely moving to the big boy phase. And he’s pretty unique, so I know we’re going to hit some firsts for me as a parent (first tooth knocked out by a swing comes to mind. He can’t seem to get the hang of where to walk by moving swings!). It will be an interesting ride.

  1. I completely get this. The moving into new stages with my last child has me so sad. My baby boy got his first hair cut this weekend and he no longer looks like my baby but a little boy instead. He is turning to the dark side…and by that I mean he is starting to look and ACT like a toddler. He still snuggles with me so I inhale the moments. My four year old is on the verge of reading and is comprehending the world around her in a whole new “grown up” kind of way lately. I love it but I feel like this ride is going too fast right now. You’re right though, every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end (that’s a favorite line from a favorite 90’s one hit wonder). I know there are still many, many more milestones to come for my “babies” so I’ll try to hold off on the tears for now.

  2. Oh he’s still just a budding ducklet (‘: I do marvel at the way children can in fact perform and scream and say things without shame. Just one of the things we have to work our way back to when we grow up .

  3. I don’t know I think he suddenly looks grown up. 🙂

    I remember the time I came home for a visit from college and saw a kid I used to babysit behind the wheel driving a car. Now where exactly did those years go?

  4. Perhaps having kids gives you a sense of when something ends and another thing begins but it sure sounds like you don’t get much warning. Great way to pass something on that you’re ‘not allowed to’. Sakes.

    • There are so many recalls with kids’ car seats that no one wants to touch a used one with a ten foot pole, plus you can’t know if it has been in any accidents. But I figure my old car seat is better than no car seat at all, so I hope it gets put to good use!

  5. I’ve always been inclined to look forwards, not back. The only thing I’ve really missed so far is the ambles across the university campus from kindergarten to the car with a 3- or 4- year-old pretending the low chain-link fences around the grassy patches are horses to ride, finding leaves and flowers and spotting ducks on the river, taking different routes around buildings and so on. I spent six or seven years doing that. On the other hand, now I get to stroll across campus at my own pace (i.e. not a crawl) and enjoy the beauty in peace.

    I don’t miss the baby days at all. I didn’t exactly enjoy breastfeeding and loved having my own body back to myself when it was done. I LOVE that all my kids can now get themselves up and make their own breakfasts. I really enjoy increasingly mature conversations with them and their flashes of truly adult phraseology. I love seeing them learn things I don’t know and developing tastes and personalities so different from mine.

    In fact, I’m even looking forward to them growing up and moving out. I love them to bits but I’ve never been under any illusion that childhood is permanent. My job is and has always been to prepare them to be the best grown-ups they can be, and that’s always in my mind. We’ve had conversations about relationships while driving to soccer, about exploitation on the way home from school, about career options while doing the dishes, about drinking and smoking while driving to birthday parties. My oldest child is 10.

  6. I love this. I’m glad I saved this for myself for when I got home from work today. All the love to you, and Squish, and keep your husband going with the “baby? MAYBE…” thing for as long as you can, because it is TOO FUN TO STOP.

  7. What’s crazy is that when I first started blogging a couple years ago, I remember that Squish was basically a baby. He wasn’t too much older than C is now. That was NOT a long time ago. I don’t like the conclusion I’m drawing here.

    So so glad you joined the hop this week. We didn’t even have to bend the rules for you. This was spot on.

    • I was thinking that about C, actually. I’ve been doing this for two and a half years. Yeah, you’ll be where I am in no time. It is truly shocking how fast it goes.

      The biggest implication is for my blog. He’s always been my subject because he was at the age of implied consent. He’s about to get old enough to care what I write. Now what?!

  8. That picture reminded me of dinner with my son, his son and his pregnant wife. My grandson is 5 and is talking lovingly to the pregnant belly, his soon to be here brother. I wonder how it will be for them so far apart in age.

    I am glad someone adopted the car seat.

  9. As co-host of Last Days, I am remiss in getting to all the wonderful posts… crazy ass week! I’m SO happy you contributed to the hop this week. I was really happy to see your “like” on my post, as I’m always a little tickled when you wander over to TFTM. This post resonates on so many levels for me. My babes are all so grown, that I’m way past car seats and just clinging to any remnant of their little selves. Some days I adore the young adults I am hanging with, and other days I still mourn those little faces, I still miss. Squish is way too cute to be a big guy yet… but let’s not tell him that. 😉 Wonderful post!

  10. Patt is right–grand kids are definitely the reward. It is a whole different playing field–all the joy without any of the angst. My kids keep asking why I wasn’t this much fun when they were little? It’s because I had to do everything (cooking, cleaning, schlepping, entertaining, disciplining–all on three hours of sleep). Now I just frolic with my grandson–I’m ever present without any other distractions. He thinks I’m the bees knees and when he turns into a little terror, I give him back to his mom. Sweet!

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