Sorting through my youngest son’s baby clothes at the weekend, I felt a wave of sadness. It was hard to remember when these teeny tiny clothes had fit. It feels like a lifetime ago, even though it’s only been a year.
Had he ever really been small enough that these miniscule onesies fastened up over his little chubby legs? And those itty bitty socks that kept his feet warm in winter – are they really the very same ones that now barely fit over his big toes?
With every outfit I pulled from his drawer, I recalled a time he’d worn it.
The ones that were pristine were clearly before he could move; those with a myriad of stains tell tales of adventures in the big outdoors and taste testing of new foods.
There was the outfit that I chose especially for professional photos. The tiger outfit that was brought purely for the cuteness factor.The outfit that I brought him home from hospital in.
I’m yet to decide what I will do with all these clothes. The reality is that I know I can’t keep them, and they’re never again going to serve a purpose for my family. But getting rid of them feels so final, like a chapter of my life is ending.
There’s no doubt that I’m done with baby making. Our family of four is complete. I’m already starting to get my nights and my life back and there are many things that I’m glad I’ve left behind: pregnancy, sleepless nights, and the monotony of a rigid routine, to name but a few.
But, on the flipside, there are things that I do mourn.
I mourn the fact that I’ll never have a newborn snuggle up on my naked chest again. I won’t ever hear the little mewing cries that only I can hush away, and I won’t again experience the sheer joy that comes from a ‘first’ smile, giggle or kiss.
Because now with every first comes a last. It will be the last time I’ll hear my child’s first words. It will be the last time I’ll see my child walk for the first time. The last time that I see his first ever wave.
As he’s my second child, I know there are so many firsts yet to come, of course. There will be daycare, preschool and finally school, and his first friends, his first serious tumbles and his first lost tooth.
But it doesn’t stop me from feeling a little sad.
Packing away his clothes was such a visual reflection for me of just how quickly time goes. Getting caught up in the daily grind it’s so easy to forget this.
So as one chapter of my life ends and I embark on the next, I’ll try to hold onto each ‘first’ for that little bit longer.
I’ll cherish each one for what it is and hug it closer to my heart.
As for the first time I start dwelling or feeling sad about it again, I will be sure to make it my last too … or, at the very least, I will try.