I am lucky enough to be a mother of three. I know that this makes me three times luckier than so many will ever be. I know that it is a role many long for. For others… it makes me three times crazier than they ever want to be. For the many who are like me, we know that it’s a little of both.
Three was always my number, I always wanted three. Originally my husband wanted only one. So naturally we compromised and had three. But it has always been a journey that we started sooner than we intended. Truly this is a fact that I am at peace with now, only it has brought about a reality that I hadn’t considered before. I already have all three of them by 26.
I spent much of my life in the “when I have a baby” mentality. And then in the “when we have another baby” mentality that I will now have to shake. As someone who loves babies this is a strange adjustment. Not a torturous one; but definitely a noticeable shift of my conscience.
So dearest Grey, that leads me to you. The last piece, my final sleepless night, “one last hurrah.” There is for me, a painful awareness of each passing day as you grow further from infancy. A gentle agony as the newborn smell slowly fades from your skin. A maternal sting as I put away newborn size clothing for the last time.
The awareness is present in all of my choices for you. My reluctance to make expensive baby purchases for you “because I’ll never use them again.” Or my hesitation to put you in your own bed at night. Sure, I miss my space but not more than I know that I’ll miss you.
I’ll scrutinize all of the mistakes that I have made with babies in my past and swear to get it right this time. This is my last chance to get it right. But by now I know that there really is no definitive “right way” to do this whole mothering thing.
I secretly mourn each of your milestones as they pass. With your brother each new phase or accomplishment was so exciting that I couldn’t help but anticipate the next one. With you, things are quite the opposite. Instead of exciting steps forward they are painful reminders of experiences that I will never have again.
This is not to say, of course, that I lack an excitement about you. On the contrary, I drink you in with more fervor than I had ever thought to in the past. I seek to memorize the characteristics of your milestones like they were scenes from my most favorite movie… that I will never get to watch again.
You are truly a dreamboat of a baby. And I’m not just saying that. Sometimes though, I’m not sure if you really had a choice in the matter. As Baby #3 your needs have always had to compete for my attention in a way my first (and second) babies never had to. This fact is evident in your siblings’s actions and personalities daily, just as it is in yours.
So I will continue to drink you up like water in a desert. You don’t seem to mind. Seeing you with your brother reminds me of just how quickly times passes by. In fact, he helped change your diaper today. In no time at all you’ll be six and sassy too.
I know that you’ll be a wonderful closing chapter. Because every closing chapter is followed by something new.
Thank you for being our third musketeer.