With Henry’s first birthday next week, I feel like I’ve finally been hit with the super-charged post-partum hormone attack I never had after his birth.
In the weeks after Will was born, my husband would catch me wiping away a tear as I left my sleeping newborn to, say, walk to the mailbox. (You read that right, THE MAILBOX, but during that walk, my inner nut-job mommy was wailing, “This is just the first of a lifetime of moments you will have to leaaaaaave hiiiiiiiiim!”)
But when Henry was born, maybe it was the surprise early arrival, or the fact that this time I really had something to cry about, that gave me an unexpected steeliness in the weeks after his birth. All of my energies, formerly devoted to obsessing over the impact this new baby would have on the delicate sensibilities of my precious firstborn, went to rooting for this little fellow hidden in a tangle of tubes. If that needy, weepy post-partum mommy was around, I never even noticed her.
So now, as I watch him wiggle out of my arms down to the floor and walk away from me (rubbing salt in the wound as he says something that sounds a lot like “bye!”), I am feeling a little weepy and wanting desperately to stop time, something I would love to chalk up to delayed-reaction post-partum hormones. It’s not that we aren’t overjoyed at his accomplishments. We greet each new milestone with cheers and applause, and I’m beyond thrilled that this baby, the one who could hardly lift his head at six months and didn’t sit up until eight months, is showing us that an early arrival really just means a head start.
But it’s just that with each new first comes the grieving of a last. It means greeting a strange new being (with NEEDS! and WANTS!) that has replaced that sweet tiny baby that I keep in my heart, but who is nowhere to be found in the present. And watching Will running, climbing and jumping out of toddlerhood at a breakneck speed reminds me that the pace only increases from here.
So really, I think it just means I miss this sweet six-week old baby, who slept and slept and slept all his days and nights away, until one day he woke up and gave us a smile.
And I miss this six-month-old roly-poly bundle of joy, who cooed and smiled and laughed whenever I walked into the room, but was powerless to move anywhere on his own.
But I guess it won’t be too long before I’m telling you how much I miss this little eleven-month-old maverick, too.
And someday, a VERY long time from now, I might even tell you I that I miss this monkey, too. MAYBE.
(Custom-made onesie by Rush and Sarah.)