You have approximately 940 weeks from your baby's birth to when they (usually) head off to college. It's true, Google's calculator says so...
940 might seem like a lot, but how many have you already used with your kid or kids? And as they grow older, they will be spending less time with you and more time at school and with friends. Before you know it, the weeks will become a blur and you'll have less than 100 left to cherish. Then, you're helping them pack to leave and saying your goodbyes.
I know this isn't the case for every family, but for many, it is. Avery is only 11.5 months (almost a year!), and I get emotional just thinking of that day she leaves Going Mom and me. Although we've been parents for less than a year, time truly is flying by, and the little squirmy baby that easily fit in our hands is now a bigger, stronger, squirmy baby we need to firmly hold with both arms!
Lately, as I'm sitting with Avery in the dark nursery and feeding her a bottle for naptime, I have been thinking more and more of how little time we really have. Getting her to actually fall asleep while holding her has become a rare event, and I usually resort to just laying her in the crib to where she'll move all over the place until finally giving in to sleep.
But, it doesn't seem that long ago when she'd fall asleep still on the bottle, and I could hold her on my chest and just rock with her before laying her in her crib... still sleeping. Now, my wife and I both look back on those days and wonder if we are ever so lucky to have that chance again. Kelley is able to experience this more because of that damn comforting boob, but it's still a rare occurrence.
This quickly fading part of our parenthood makes me think how excited we get about every "first" we experience with Avery, but we don't always consider there will be a last. Even as she's sitting on the floor crying for no reason, there will be a last time we come over to pick her up and hold her.
Soon, crawling will be a thing of the past and we won't have to stoop so low to pick her up. And then *gasp* she'll grow up to where picking her up and holding her is simply unacceptable or downright embarrassing!
It's sad to think, but there will be a last time you pick up your baby.
As this thought entered my mind, many more "lasts" soon followed. I remember my delight when I fed Avery her first bottle, but now I'm thinking of how one day, I'll be feeding her the bottle one last time. She's moving on to more than just breastmilk, and I can't wait to discover the vast array of exciting food with her, but still sad to think our girl is moving on to the next phase; it's bittersweet, really.
Even things like diaper changes; there will be a last change of her diaper before she's moving on to big girl undies. Using a swaddle for the first and last time has already happened, and I can barely remember the days of making a "baby burrito." As a new parent who still has a lot of firsts to enjoy, I know there will be many accompanying lasts to endure as well.
Eventually, I will have to stop wearing her in our baby carrier, which is a huge part of our lives. Every day, I make it a point to wear her and go for a walk. Luckily, the Onya can support up to 75 pounds, but I imagine I won't be wearing her at that point! And blowing raspberries? Sadly, this is already fading fast.
At least not every first will mean there's a daunting last in the future. When she walks for the first time, I expect she'll be walking her entire life. When she gives the first real hug, I can only hope she'll give us hugs for eternity. But there are also many firsts we have yet to encounter that will be accompanied by lasts.
She will develop a deep love for that special toy and we'll get used to seeing her bring it with her everywhere, but there will be a last day she wants to carry it with her and it will be put up and forgotten.
I'm not saying this trying to have a negative view, rather, it makes me enjoy every day for what it is and to not take it for granted. Because once today is over, it becomes a thing of the past and will only live as a memory. Would you prefer worrying over petty things every day and letting them disturb your thoughts, or does enjoying the life around you and shrugging off the small stuff sound better?
I choose the latter, and need to remind myself of this every day, as I am what some call a "worry wart." As I spend my time with Avery, watching her learn and grow, I want to make sure to enjoy her now, just how she is in the present. Because, while she has many firsts yet to come, she also has many lasts.
This was originally posted on Going Dad.