Is This the Last?

A friend posed the question on Facebook, How did you know you were done having babies, and then how do you cope with all of the lasts that come with being done?  This is one of those questions where I can only share my experience, and wouldn’t dare assume that it’s the same for everyone, but here it is nonetheless :)

Here’s the scene.  Grace was 3, Eli was 2, Ada was 6 months old.  I found myself buying a pregnancy test and my entire body shook until I got the results.  Negative.  That was the very, very clear moment when I knew we were done having babies.  I knew I couldn’t handle having a fourth as close in age as my three were, but I also didn’t want what would feel like a giant age gap.  So it was settled.  We would be a family of five.  I feel so, so guilty telling this story knowing of women who struggle with infertility.  You are strong beyond my comprehension.

And as for the lasts, many of those slipped by me sadly.  The last bath, the last nap, the last time they were small enough for me to carry them to bed.  Well, Ada still fits the last one.  I never really knew it was the last until sometime later, which is the saddest kind of last there is.  The lasts that were intentional – teaching them to use the potty so it would be the last diaper, teaching them to use a cup so it would be the last bottle – those were more triumphant for me.  Victories.

The lasts are sad because we will miss those little people.  The little babies sleeping with a pacifier, the little toddler with a bubble mohawk in the tub… these littles will someday disappear and be replaced with bigs.  And this friends, is why we take pictures.  Take pictures like it’s your job.  Who cares if they are in matching clothes or smiling, if they have food or snot smeared across their face.  Take pictures of THESE PEOPLE, exactly how they are right now, and then they will always be around.