The other night as I lay with Coconut number 4, I was hit with overwhelming sadness. Perhaps it was the lack of sleep over the course of the past several nights as we have begun the weaning process of our littlest Coconut. At least weaning from night nursing that is. She’s turned me into a pacifier and since I have 3 other Coconuts and a husband that require my attention, I’ve got to get more sleep than 2 hour stretches. I digress though…More than likely my sadness came from the realization that with this one comes all of the last firsts. The last first look on a little face that I spent 9 months imagining. The last first breath. Last first bath, smile, tooth, steps, words. Last first Christmas’s and first birthdays. Although I realize that there will be other firsts, like cars, jobs, loves, apartments, etc, the season of baby’s firsts is coming to an end for us.
As I snuggled my last born, feeling her small, warm body, I thought back to my first, second, and third born and all their firsts. All important and embedded in my mind and in my heart. I could instantly tell you about their first steps, words, teeth, but something about knowing that this one yields the end of “baby’s first” brought a lump to my throat. Nostalgia rolled over me as I thought back over the past 11 years and how fast it really goes. The throes of parenting with sleep deprivation and the daily repetition of the word “no”, along with the constant search for all things tiny, had masked the speed of it all. How many nights had I just fallen into bed, exhausted and thankful that another day was over and we were closer to….what? The kids being grown?
I began to think about seasons and how the bible admonishes us to “redeem the time.” My mind started sorting through the catalogs of time that I spend with them. Redeeming the time. It’s easy to become caught up in the daily grind, but every moment I am teaching them something. Good or bad. So I am trying to worry less about whether I’ve taught them how to correctly handle laundry and more about how I’m teaching them to handle life. Less about how to approach the art of homemaking, more about the art of building relationships with others. Less about what to do in an emergency situation, more about WHO to run to in a crisis and how to approach the King of Kings in time of need. Our lives have become a balancing act of family, ministry, work – a little like a three-legged stool that is constantly in danger of tipping over. There is only One who keeps it balanced. Is that what I’m teaching them?
Redeeming the time.
Someday the last firsts will become the last of the lasts. The very last of the bedtime stories, drinks of water, diaper changes, early morning snuggles. Last shoes to be tied, sandwiches to make. Last boo boos that only my kisses make better. I remember vividly the first nursing session that felt like an awkward and painful tango danced with a complete stranger. But now here we are close to the last where our “nummie” sessions have become a smooth pas de deux. Our bodies are so connected that I can’t tell anymore were baby begins and my body ends.
Redeeming the time.
I silently pondered, if I would have known with the other Coconuts when the last time we nursed was going to be, would I have tried to make the moment last just a little longer? Or the last time my oldest needed her hair washed, wouldn’t I have just enjoyed the moment instead of being in a hurry to get her into jammies, teeth brushed and into bed? I will redeem the time I have left. In this moment in which whatever I say is taken without doubt or question. I will speak life, plant truth, and cultivate beauty into their little hearts.
I lay in bed that night, watching the moonlight stream through the window, snuggling my last baby as she struggled to go to sleep without nursing. In this magical age between baby and little girl we find ourselves. Oh soul! Soak up every moment. The smell of her baby skin. The feel of soft hair on my arm. I am burying it deep in my memory so that when the last Coconut tumbles from the tree and into their own lives I can embrace these times. For now, I am redeeming the time. Breathing in every last first. Savoring every last, last.