And when I say EVERY moment, I honestly mean EVERY last moment.
This is by no means an easy lesson or one that fell on me in the first few moments of motherhood, but I feel lucky that I did learn it and continue to grow in it within the first few months of my child's life. Trust me when I say learning this lesson and always keeping it in the back of my mind, makes all the "hard" moments a little more tolerable.
Don't get me wrong I am by no means a mother who thinks she has it all figured out. I am also not naive in thinking that I have an perfect angel child. I would not say that I am a "new age thinker" who doesn't believe that there will come a time when my child needs a good ole' fashion swat on the butt either...actually that thought has already crossed my mind, he was just lucky he wasn't a year older throwing the same fit.
What I have learned is to cherish every moment, the good and the bad because in the long run you never know when that moment will be your last. The last time you have to wake up every two hours to breastfeed you brand new baby. The last time you get to breastfeed at all. The last time you have to wake up with your baby in the middle of the night to rock him back to sleep. The last time he needs your help supporting his head before he can fully do it on his own. The last time he needs you to change his diaper, give him a bath, feed him, brush his teeth, hold his hand, kiss his boo-boos or tuck him in at night. The last time he wants you to hug him in public, take him to school, meet his friends or brings a girl home for the last time. The last time he sleeps in your house before moving into his own, the last time you are the "woman in his life" before he ask another woman to be his wife. The list could go on and on.
I have already experienced a few "last moments" with my baby who is already, but only, 4 months old and to be honest many tears have already been shed for the missed opportunities to just enjoy those moments a little longer. To not fret about when "this phase" will end, but to just learn to breath and be present and enjoy EVERY moment.
I found this poem on another friend's blog and it really summed up how I feel. WhenI googled it, the poem is actually a book written by Karen Kingsbury, and one that will obviously be going on the to-buy list. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, but more importantly I hope you learn to cherish EVERY last moment with your child because it makes EVERY moment worth it.
Let Me Hold You Longer
By: Karen Kingsbury
"Long ago you came to me, a miracle of firsts:
First smiles and teeth and baby steps, a sunbeam on the burst.
But one day you will move away and leave to me your past,
And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts.
The last time that I held a bottle to your baby lips.
The last time that I lifted you and held you on my hip.
The last time when you woke up crying needing to be walked.
When last you crawled up with your blanket, wanting to be rocked.
The last time that you ran to me still small enough to hold,
The last time that you said you'd marry me when you grew old.
Precious, simple moments and bright flashes from the past-
Would I have held you longer if I knew they were your last?
Our last adventure to the park, your final midday nap,
The last time when you wore your favorite faded baseball cap.
Your last few hours of kindergarten, last days of first grade,
Your last at bat in Little League, last colored picture made.
I never said goodbye to all your yesterdays long past.
So what about tomorrow--will I recognise your lasts?
The last time that you catch a frog in that old backyard pond.
The last time that you run barefoot across our fresh-cut lawn.
Silly, scattered images will represent your past.
I keep on taking pictures, not quiet sure of your lasts...
The last time that I comb your hair or stop a pillow fight.
The last time that I pray with you and tuck you in at night.
The last time that we cuddle with a book, just me and you.
The last time that you jump in our bed and sleep between us two.
The last piano lesson, last vacation to the lake.
Your last few weeks of middle school, last soccer goal you make.
I look ahead and dream of days that haven't come to pass.
But as I do, I sometimes miss today's sweet, precious lasts...
My life keeps moving faster, stealing precious days that pass.
I want to hold you longer--want to recognise your lasts.
The last time that you need my help with details of a dance.
The last time that you ask me for advice about romance.
The last time that you talk to me about your hopes and dreams.
The last time that you wear a jersey for your high school team.
I've watched you grow and barely noticed seasons as they pass.
If I could freeze the hands of time, I'd hold on to your lasts.
For come some bright fall morning you'll be going far away.
College life will beckon in a brilliant sort of way.
One last hug, one last goodbye, one quick and hurried kiss.
One last time to understand just how much you will be missed.
I'll watch you leave and think how fast our times together past.
Let me hold on longer God, to every precious last.