In years gone by I can remember looking at large families and thinking what a charmed life their youngest lived. As second youngest of five children, I used to envy them, as those youngest children always seemed much loved by all their family, and spoiled!
As I grew older and had children myself I continued to be aware of parents around me who treated their youngest differently. They were breast fed for longer. There was no rush to get rid of the bottle or soother, and fathers carried these little ones around, long past a time when they needed carrying. I could never understand it. Why baby a child? It seemed so selfish to try to stop their baby growing up.
And then I had my final child.
Even when pregnant I knew this was to be my last pregnancy. The final time I would deliver a baby. The last time I would feed and hold a tiny newborn baby close. The last time I would be the much needed mother of a young child.
What a joy that final child has been, not just for myself but for the whole family. When she was a baby she was always in someones arms. When I fed her in the evening my husband would come into the sitting room and offer to put her up to bed. I would look at her snuggled up, sound asleep in my arms, her little head resting on my shoulder, her breath on my neck, and I would decline, saying I’d hold onto her a short while longer.
The years have flown past and now that small baby is twelve, and I am still holding onto her a little longer.
She is tall, and getting taller every day. She has begun to join in the group sharing of clothes with her older sisters. She has a mobile phone and is beginning to spend time in her room. She can regularly be found sitting chatting with her siblings. Her much loved toys are lying in her room, rarely touched, and probably hardest of all is the fact that in the last short while we are no longer asked to read a story at night. Gone are the days when she sat in my lap and told me all the news, when I had to run to watch the “I love you” song in Barney, when I carried her half asleep to bed. Gone are the days when she was my constant companion, chattering non stop as I went about my daily life, always happy, and always with me.
Sometimes I look at her from a distance and I am taken aback. I hear her mature conversation and I watch her as she walks confidently, flicking her hair as she goes. There are moments when I see her as if for the first time in months and I wonder, “Where has my baby gone?”.
I can see she is happy, and enjoying her life as an older child. I have had three other children, so I know this is the way it is meant to be. We gave her life, and now it is time to allow her to live it. To spread her wings, even if it is only to travel short distances.
However as I see those once adored teddies, lying forgotten by her bed, I cannot help but remember, those wonderful days we spent together. Hand in hand. A small girl and her mum.
And I accept it, I do need my baby a lot more than she needs me.
photo credit: Martin Gommel via photopin cc
photo credit: Ashitakka via photopin cc
40 thoughts on “Do I need my baby more than she needs me?”
My little brother was my father’s toy. And he and I got along well. I’m actually enjoying my children’s growing up. Whether we do a good job or not, they still grow up.
That they do Jackie and sometimes it all seems to be happening so fast. The end of an era.
PS: Grandchildren come next!
They will be ruined. I make no apology for that.
I’ve been having these thoughts frequently about the twins. I know just what you mean.
Twins moving on would be so much harder. Full on for so long x2 and then…..
I feel your pain, even though the older ones have shown me that the next stage is great fun.
I’m sure it is, but I think they’re changing faster than I can adapt to it.
Awww 😦 it just seems to fly by all the time they get big before our eyes!!
Yes. Just when you think it will never end you begin to realise it is flying by.
You have loads of time ahead to enjoy these childhood days, and from what I’ve read you know how to do just that.
I do my best it’s all you can do 🙂 I’ve learned to live in the moment and that’s made a big difference 🙂
Delightful….your writing, that is! I do know how you feel. Little ones grow so quickly.
Thank you. These last few days I’ve been so conscious of her moving on. I hope writing this will stop me thinking about it.
Even though the stage she is at now is a delight too.
Yes, writing is very good therapy. 🙂
Aw, that’s so lovely Tric.I can only imagine how fast time flies and before I know it my toddlers will have changed into teenagers! It’s scary but wonderful to see little boys and girls becoming happy, well adjusted adults.
The whole mothering thing is so much fun. Every stage has it’s ups and downs. I am drawing to an end and sometimes I can’t believe it’s all nearly over.
Enjoy as much as you can.
Most of us do only have our kids at home for short time of a life period Tric, so we just need to enjoy them in that time. Later it will be different things, we will have together. I know, my kids are adults now 🙂
Yes I know I’ll have a lovely future with them all, but it is hard to believe i no longer have a small child to mother.
Oh no.. I dread this happening. My daughter who is only four wants to wear nail polish and makeup to be pretty ‘like mummy’.. Sometimes it scares me when they seem to grow up so quickly, but today I saw a rabbit in the back garden and told her and her twin brother to come quickly. They arrived in to see it and asked if it was the Easter bunny!! They’re still so cuddly and affectionate. I hope they never lose that.
Twindaddy just commented about his twins growing up. I think it must be doubly difficult with twins, as you lose two little ones at once.
Enjoy as much as you can up to then, because the end will come.
Mind you we have plenty more fun to look forward to.
Oh I know how you feel Tric, even though my baby is four he is already running with the older ones. I just love having him around and want to preserve these days a little more. Lovely post
ThanksI Naomi. I love when they are that age and all chat. It’s lovely to see the young lady my baby is becoming, but for myself I’ve had over twenty years of being a mother to a child, so it’s a bit sad to see it coming to an end.
It’s all ahead of you. Enjoy.
How wonderful that you cherished her infancy. That’s how we keep moments alive. I have to remind myself that being too busy blocks me from making truly full rich memories so I can call my own moments back into being.
I am so glad that I was able to really know she was my last and that I should enjoy her. It’s been wonderful.
I agree sometimes we are too busy to enjoy and appreciate the day.
It sounds like you know when to remind yourself to enjoy what you have.
yes, it is so true and unavoidable i think. the older two always told me i ‘babied’ their little sister and looking back, i think i did a bit, for just the reasons you shared. now, as a teacher i see this with parents with their last child. they are a little more hesitant to send them to kindy, to see them grow up, and i understand )
I love the way that you understand “us” parents of last children. Sometimes my daughters teachers are so very young. They have no children and could never understand. Ah well their day will come.
This one touched a nerve with me Tric. When we had our Tween we honestly believed there would be another baby after her. After so many losses we realised she was the last one and she became that much more treasured (not that she wasn’t treasured in the first place but I think you know what I mean). Now she is almost 13 and I watch her with her friends and wonder where my baby has gone. When she is moody or wants to spend time on her iPod rather than chatting or pulling faces at our lame jokes, it makes me sad that she is growing up but proud at the same time. It’s a hard thing to see your baby grow up.
You are but one year ahead of me. I totally understand and empathise. I’m sure it’s been wonderful having her. How precious she must be.
She has her precious moments and her ‘teenage’ moments. But I love her dearly.
I can relate to that suz. We’re parents to one and it brings its own bittersweet feelings.
Bittersweet, but more sweet than bitter!
*sniff* I miss my babies too. When they became full-fledged teenagers, I changed my mind, because they transformed into beings that I hadn’t expected. Now that they are adults, I’m anxiously awaiting the marriages and the babies to follow. I hope I have many, but I’m afraid I won’t–or we will be so far away, I can’t see them all the time.
Sniff sniff too. I read this back to my youngest thinking she’s enjoy it as it was a post about me and her. When I looked up she was crying. I suppose on some level she also misses her baby days.
I too hope I get to enjoy the next generation, but not for a long time.
I can fully relate. I swore I would never favor one of my children over the other as they were growing up (and don’t really think I did), and swore I loved them equally….BUT..that being said I am closer to my baby than I am to my other two and I seem to “need” her more than my other two. She will turn 35 in September and she lights up my world!!
That is such a beautiful comment “she lights up my world”. How lucky are we to have these precious last children.
I did the same thing with my last baby. I think with the last I was more relaxed and self assured. I wanted to enjoy and be close to her for as long as I could. I treasure those moments we spent together–such precious memories. Thank you for such a beautiful post 🙂
I am always amazed that we reared this last child with love and no fuss and she has turned out brilliant. What were we thinking with the first children. This is the way all children should be reared.
My ‘baby’ just turned 39. I still baby her and I definitely need her much more than she needs me!
This gives me hope for a lifetime together. 🙂
Know the feeling as I look at the Sylvanians lying lonely and I miss the little pictures and notes that used to be left around the house for me to find but as long as she nearly knocks me over with her hugs (now gone so tall!), I won’t complain. 🙂
Yes I think it takes a lot longer for them to actually grow, but all the familiar signs are there! Sigh……
Still I must admit I enjoy the company of the older ones greatly.
As for hugs, I don’t think they ever grow out of them thankfully, even if for a few years they are only given in secret.