This is it.
Just a few short (endless) days or weeks left of my last pregnancy. These are the last baby kicks that I’ll feel from the inside, the last time I’ll wake my husband from slumber with the words, “It’s time! The baby is coming!” Soon I’ll tell my last birth story, that profound-beyond-words sequence of events that will lead to the moment I set eyes on our final family member’s face for the first time.
My baby burrito swaddling skills will be put to use for our youngest baby, perfected and honed until they are no longer needed. How many months until I forget…which way does the blanket go? Which part gets folded first?
This is it.
Up every two hours, my eyelids slamming open at every coo and gurgle, despite my brain still deep in sleep and fog. I’ll struggle through my last difficult breastfeeding session, slowly forgetting the pain and misery, as day by day the effort becomes ease and the soreness quietly transforms into comfort. I’ll gaze at those wide open eyes, those sleepy milk-drunk smiles, that swirl of peach fuzz baby hair on such a sweet-smelling forehead. I’ll breathe in deep and vow to never forget the moment, the baby smell, the coos and cuddles. Those, too, will fade.
Changing diapers, washing diapers, packing diapers, carrying diapers. Crying and sleep schedules and tiptoeing and watching the clock. Babies and toddlers and big kids and supper time and laundry and potty training and sibling arguments.
This is the future I have always looked forward to. This is the life that I imagined I might one day tackle, the someday, the maybe, the “I wonder what that would be like?”. This is it.
This is the time in my life I will always look back on with nostalgia: the memories I’ll treasure above all others, and the memories that will fade faster than I’ll ever expect.
Soon though, here it comes: the beginning of having big kids. The beginning of freedom? Could it possibly be? No more naptimes, no more baby bucket carseats and bouncers, no more diaper bags. I’ll put away the crib and the nursery supplies, pass on the baby gear to someone who needs it next. Goodbye, baby years. In a blink of a tired eye, this will be over.
Here I am in the calm before the storm. Down in the trenches. The most needed I will ever be. The most tired I will ever be. The most beautiful, meaningful, challenging chaos I might ever encounter.
Has life ever been so full?
This is it.