Dear Mom at the Park,
I think it was the summer of 2006 when we meet, although it could have been fall, I don't remember. I don't remember much these days.
The date doesn't matter as much as this detail, I was a mom to one. My first, my only was a toddler and you were there with your kids, three or four of them (again I don't remember the details). Your youngest was just a baby, 6-8 months old.
We made the usual mom small talk at the playground. Halted bits of conversation around rescuing kids from heights and answering requests for more snack. You mentioned that you hadn't started solids yet, despite your doctor telling you too that you just wanted to hold on to the baby-ness, and the ease, of nursing for just a little longer because this was your last baby.
I gave the "oh, I see" smile and nod while in my head I scoffed and judged you. Why would you seemingly risk your babies development to hold on to a fleeting moment in time? What was the big deal? It's just food. It's not like he suggested you send your baby to all-day preschool. In fact I remember going home and continuing to scoff and judge you to my husband. This is how unproductive people in society are made! You can't coddle and baby your child just because he's your last.
Dear Mom, I hope you read this as I have something to say. I was wrong and I am deeply sorry for judging you. Seven years later as I cuddle my last baby, in my bed where we co-sleep no less, I understand what you meant. The bittersweet reality of everything being done for the last time. Watching milestones pile up like dirty onesies in the corner, becoming just memories of times gone by.
I'm sorry I thought you were wrong as I see now the wisdom in your ways. It's not about being too busy with the other kids, too emotionally attached to babyness to move on. No, it's about cherishing and living in each and every single one of these moments. To savor them and cherish them in ways at the time I didn't know how, or know that I needed to. Back then everything was so new and exciting. He's rolling! He's walking! Oh did he say mama? We quickly moved from one milestone to the next eager and excited to watch this child grow. Not that it isn't exciting to watch this last baby grow, it is, but it's bittersweet, and I get that now.
So thank you, thank you for showing me how to cherish these last moments and for giving me the permission to do so.
However, if you still haven't started solids I reserve the right to revoke this apologize and roll my eyes.
No longer a bright eyed new mom
Melissa is mom to 4 kids and 2 angels. She chronicles the sticky bits of motherhood at Peanut Butter in my Hair.
See more of Melissa's stories here.