Friday, August 11, 2006

Bye-Bye, Baby

This morning Christopher put it perfectly when he said, "It's kind of sad how close Julia is to her last day as an only child. And she doesn't even know it." We both looked at her as she cheerily toddled over to her bookshelf and busied herself "reading." She's so blissfully unaware of how her world is about to change. It made me think about my vow at the beginning of the season to make this summer a special one, the last summer Jujee and I would spend as a duo. I don't know just how special it's turned out--my pregnancy has been harder than I expected it would be, taxing my energy and abilities formidably--but on balance, I think we've had a good summer together, for which I'm very grateful. We've made friends, splashed in water, played in sand, slurped ice cream cones, walked many a stroller mile, checked out doggies and fish and waterfalls, held scads of tea parties with multiple cuddly stuffed animals, sung songs, chalked bright heiroglyphics on our driveway, and made great fun even out of mundane household chores like floor sweeping and grocery runs.

Julia has had two years in the limelight mantle of my one and only, and she won't even be able to remember it. Her whole life, she will only have memories of being one of two sisters; all our playdates and games and cuddles and special outings together alone will exist in my memory alone.

It's all so fleeting! I can hardly stand the heartbreak of it. How do you say goodbye to your first baby's solo babyhood? How do you look back on the weeks you thought you'd never survive, and reconcile that experience with the blink-of-an-eye exit of this family of just three? As Julia and I were driving home from an errand the other morning, a Justin Roberts lullaby played on the car stereo and just about said it all--about children and love and fleeting moments too:

"Last night the moon was full
And last night it all stood still...

Last night the moon hung low
And last night it overflowed
And knelt down to kiss your head
And "lovely" was all it said...

Last night the dawn did break
And last night we laid awake
To watch the sky turn blue
It was lovely and so were you."

I love you, Sweet Pea!


Heidi said...

Hey!! I finally figured it out!! *That's* why I've felt so traumatized all my life!---I can't *remember* the time in my young, 0-20-month-old life when I had Mom & Dad all to MYSELF!!!! (Before YOU came along, you little spoiler!! Just KIDDING!!!!)

Again...Julis will be FINE! Actually, she'll be a better person, less spoiled, a person of broader horizons, and more adept in the long run at how to live with, work with, handle differences with, other people, for having NOT been an only child for long. And she will look back, like you and I do, and remember happy playtimes *together* as sisters (along with the bickerings!...but those memories pale in comparison to the good ones).

Plus, there has to be *someone* to annoy Julia by continually "putting her feet on her bed" in the nighttime. I mean, really, how can a girl *live* life if she doesn't have to deal w/ *that*???! Truly, they'll both be better college roommates to someone for having had to learn how to be roommates, or at least housemates, to *each other*. (I knew some "only children" thru public school and college; they were NOT easy to get along with!)

I know the mixed emotions are there, but dwell on the positives more than anything.

Shan said...

Yeah, all true, I know. There's a reason we didn't want Julia to be on only child--I think kids are better off, usually, when they have a sibling. I'm not regretful about that decision, just, you know--totally sappy and sentimental about my time with her. ;)

Jordan said...

Yes, it's a very weird thing how the older child doesn't remember life before the younger. Even though he was almost four when Lyle was born, and remembers all kinds of events from those early years, Baxter actually doesn't remember being without Lyle. But you know, it's a lot of fun to sit around with your firstborn and tell him glowingly how much fun you had together; it makes Baxter very happy to imagine it and I enjoy telling him and remembering. Also, it's a lot of fun to show him videos of life when it was just him. And I figure, he doesn't consciously remember those years, but they are all a part of who he is.