Growing up the oldest child, I long felt my mother babied my youngest brother and gave him slightly preferential treatment. Even to this day, I harbor a teeny bit of resentment for the times I felt like he got away with things that I never would have. Now, I have a youngest child. And despite my best intentions, I am totally babying him. Try as I might, my sadness that I’m done having children is making me cling to my littlest being little for as long as possible. I am sort of nauseated with myself, not going to lie.
I’m writing this five days before my little guy’s sixth birthday and in the interest of keeping it real, I will tell you all that I’m not handling it well. With my recent miscarriage and our decision to stop having kids, seeing my youngest child becoming a truly big kid is hurting me in ways I never anticipated. The best example of how desperately I’m clinging to his littleness is the fact that my older child doesn’t turn eight until September yet, I constantly say she’s “nearly eight.” He turns six in less than a week and I’ve yet to call him a six-year old or even an “almost” six-year old. Combine all of this with the fact that he’s finishing kindergarten next month and we have a perfect storm of sad mom thoughts.
It doesn’t help that my son is honestly adorable. He is really small for his age and has this precious voice that sounds like a baby robot. We get stopped in public by people telling us he’s “sooo cute” and also, guessing him about two years younger than he is because of the aforementioned smallness. He is a very affectionate little guy and needs a lot of hugs and kisses to feel secure. He is often climbing into our laps and saying the cutest things about how much he loves us. He makes it hard not to baby him, honestly.
All of this aside, I am trying hard not to. I know it won’t help him much in the long run and I want what’s best for him even as I struggle to work through my own sadness that my last baby is growing up. I want him to be strong and mature and ready for anything. I am reminding myself of this daily as I watch him getting bigger and needing me less and less. I know it’s in his best interest for me to let go a little but it doesn’t make it any easier. Right now, I’m trying to focus on all the benefits of life with older kids but something tells me that even though these feelings of sadness will fade, they will never go away completely. I’ll just have to learn to live with it and be proud as my little boy becomes a man.