We loaded up in the car to leave the hospital like old pros. It’s our third baby boy. He screamed almost the whole way home as he experienced the car seat for the first time. And while he screamed, I could feel this look of peace cover my face.
All of my babies have screamed the whole way home in the car. And I don’t remember that look of peace on my face. The screaming in the car led me to panic and made me sweat and made my heart race. I wanted to pull over and hold him and try again before. But this time I knew that our baby boy was fine. He’d be home in a few minutes where I could snuggle him and remind him that he’s safe. And just the overwhelming feeling of gratitude for having a baby in our car, coming home with us, was enough to make me feel that peace this time.
This time we know that it’s our last baby. Our third baby boy is our last baby. So this time I’m going to hold him for all of his naps. I’m going to nap when he naps. I’m going to breathe in that smell of baby shampoo and let my senses memorize how that smells and how that feels and what his little grunts sound like.
This time I’m going to smile when I lift him out of his crib in the middle of the night. I’m going to stop watching the clock at 3:00 a.m. and see each moment as time that I can spend with him that I’ll never get back. Not because I’m superhuman or because I don’t love sleep, but because the thought of never feeding a baby in the middle of the night again makes my heart break.
This time I’m not going to force the baby on my big boys. I’m going to wait for them to ask to hold him and love on him. When they rush home from school and want to see their baby brother before they do anything else, I’ll know that taking the pressure off of them was a good thing.
This time I’m going to cry as I watch friend after friend stop by to check on me and meet our newest addition. When I see them hold him and welcome him to the world, I see a future full of friendship and the support we receive from our amazing village. The meals they bring are the icing on the cake, but the kindness and love and grace they extend to our whole family are the real deal.
This time I know what stuff to sweat over and what stuff to just let go. The stress of nursing a big baby was gone because I knew what I was getting into and I could effectively communicate with our doctors and nurses. This time I knew that being a couple of ounces away from his birth weight wasn’t something to panic about. This time I know that holding him all day right now is good for me. This time I know that staying in my pajamas and missing a shower (or two) is okay- even if people are coming over. This time I know that feeling relaxed is the most important thing. Everything else can wait.
This time I know that my soft belly will return to normal again, so I just wait and enjoy the pajamas and yoga pants and extended wear of maternity pants.
This time I sing the same hymns over and over again at bedtime and sometimes find myself unable to choke out the words as I sing to my baby boy about God’s grace. This time I know that there’s no more important thing that I could ever sing about.
This time I’m praying that I don’t rush my big boys into growing up too much because my hands are full with their baby brother. They are all still babies in my eyes and each of their feelings and emotions and life stages are all important.
This time will fly by. He’ll be a month old in just a few days. I’ll wonder where the days went. So this last baby boy of ours is being fussed over and cherished in the best ways we know how to do that. We are so, so grateful for this time.