On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in June surrounded by friends and family we celebrated Edith’s 3rd birthday.
Once the chaos of the party had passed and I was sat in the calm of the early evening sun watching Edith play it was then that it hit me, like a boulder to my chest.
My baby was 3!
Only she’d said it herself just earlier on that day. That she wasn’t a baby anymore. I think that’s what makes this birthday so significant, so hard to process.
As I took a moment my heart swelled with joy, as did my eyes with tears.
I never felt this way with my first. I had Ethan who is now 14 when I was 21. I always presumed we were going to have another baby so I simply enjoyed his childhood.
Unfortunately, due to fertility issues we actually didn’t manage to have another baby until Ethan was 11.
Making the decision to have no more children was really taken out of my hands. In 2017 I had 3 back surgeries, 1 which has left me with several on-going complications; I have since developed Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The stress a pregnancy would put upon my body- it simply wouldn’t cope, and that wouldn’t be fair on my family.
So, you see Edith is my last child.
Every first for her will be a last for me.
As she turns three she leaves behind memories of milestones, each one with an ache in the background of my happiness.
I remember waking up post op and my husband passing her too me, breathing her in for the first time.
Her first steps, her first words.
Then there was the very last time I got to breast feed her, late night in hospital before my first back surgery.
The first time she told me she loved me.
All beautiful memories tinged with a hint of sadness that I will never again get to seek them.
Now each day she strives for more independence, and I know I should be happy, happy that she is growing up. Happy that her life is being forged before her, each day she is learning something new.
But part of me can’t help but feel a huge sense of loss.
I’m torn between holding her close and watching her fly.
When did she get the courage to run ahead and hide behind that tree in the forest? Did I let her hold the dogs lead last time? Did she really just climb up there?!
As an adult I know I have to rip off the proverbial band aid, to ‘suck it up butter cup’, to ‘put my big girl pants on’.
As a Mama I want to hold her for just that little bit longer (no matter how much she resists)!
And that’s okay.
As parents we have to cut ourselves a bit of slack. Sometimes the thought of our children growing up can be overwhelming and it’s okay to feel a sense of loss. By allowing yourself to follow the process you will arrive at a place acceptance.