Nothing prepares you for the last time something happens in your child’s life. The last time they stop waking in the middle of the night seeking comfort, the last time they nurse or drink from the bottle, the last time they ask for help opening things, the last time they need a kiss for their boo-boo, etc.
There are some things that you do as a parent where you wish for it to end. Like cleaning out yet another bottle or having to wake up in the middle of the night for the third time and when those moments end you’re excited. Then when a different kind of moment comes along and it stops happening and you realize that two days ago was the last time.
Like, “Oh my god, I didn’t even need to help him sit up today!”
Those moments are the ones that can hit you like a ton of bricks falling from a ten-story rooftop. They’re growing up. They’re becoming more independent. They don’t need you.
Of course, they’ll still need to rely on you to take care of them until they reach “adulthood” and maybe even further down the road in life. But those little tiny milestones — not the ones that we think about like first steps and all — but the little ones like they have to hold your finger because their hand is too small and suddenly their hands fit in yours just right. Or them reaching out to help get down the slide and suddenly they push off on their own.
I usually hear the words “hold those moments dear because one day…” and I always wave them off, “Yeah, but I’ll be happy when I don’t need to…” then the moment comes and suddenly your eyes fill with tears. You think to yourself, they were right.
All those days complaining about not knowing what your baby wants because they can’t tell you. The moments when you’re exhausted because they can’t connect their sleep cycles throughout the night and you’re up every two hours. When you just want them to figure out how to use a certain toy on their own — you are exhausted, inconvenienced, annoyed — and then it’s gone; you don’t know what to do you with yourself.
You should feel proud, though. You were their safe person and now they’re ready to do it on their own. It’s also valid to feel a sense of grief or nostalgia for a moment as well. I will miss hearing “ghost-guppers!” instead of “ghostbusters!”.
As he learns and grow into his own personality, I’ve noticed more and more there were last moments I had missed. Like when he started to say our dog’s name right, it’s like something you expect to hear but then you realize — he didn’t say it the cute way.
“No, I will do it myself.” — My toddler, aged 2.
I love watching my little one grow and learn new words and skills. It’s amazing to see how much that little brain of theirs can process and digest. I cannot wait for more “last” moments — no matter how sad that will make me feel — I’m excited to see what he will move on to do next on his own.