Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Sept. 22, 2008. It captures the bittersweet moment when our baby, particularly our last baby, steps into toddlerhood.
She is my fourth child and my last baby, and she is walking.
She, of course, is delighted and high steps it all over the house, pausing to teeter uncertainly where the carpet meets the hardwood floor.
When my 2 year old imitates her, he bends his legs comically and waddles across the room like a tired, old cowboy.
But I watch her with pride and gladness, though also a certain sadness.
I have been here before, and I know what is coming. Legs that were once small and chubby lengthen out and become pokey and all knobby-kneed. Tiny bodies that nestled so comfortably on my lap become impossibly long and boney, poking me with elbows and hip bones. Babies who once contently watched the action from their perch in the sling now wriggle and arch to join the fun.
It seems like they learn to walk, only to walk away.
But still, it is such a wonderful thing. I do love watching my children grow, and it is such a pleasure to hear what is on their minds. I look around and wonder how I got so lucky.
And I do realize that as parenting goes, good parenting means that we work ourselves out of a job.
So this is probably why when I’m tending to her, my last baby, I am at peace. Nothing else presses at me from the edges. I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. I am doing my job.
What has it been like for you as your children have left babyhood behind?