I blinked, and suddenly, my tiny baby is turning one.
Oh sure, we all know the tired cliché, “It goes by so fast!” every mom of a newborn is told. But you never realize how quickly time flies until you find yourself on the eve of a birthday. Then it dawns on you that, once again, a whole year has passed.
In this case, it is the first year of my youngest child, Santi. It’s a bittersweet feeling to celebrate this milestone. On one hand, I couldn’t be happier with the year that was and the many adventures and memories that will follow.
On the other hand, as I look back on the past 12 months and think about all those moments that I enjoyed, albeit only for that brief moment in time, I can’t help but get nostalgic. I think about the first time I saw that toothless gummy smile, and compare it to his bright bungisngis smile today, with six little pearly whites shining brightly. Both smiles carry a contagious joy.
I remember the days when my days and nights blended into one another. I know for a fact I was exhausted from nursing and the interrupted sleep but, for some reason, it all seems like a vague memory now, and what clearly stands out is the peaceful feeling of contentment in spending all that time together, without any pressure to be anywhere or do anything, in those first few weeks.
In the beginning, of course, there was the pressure of trying to find that balance in taking care of three children. It was certainly a challenge, but eventually, we got the hang of it. Our methods are far from perfect, and there are days when we fall so far from the mark, but in general, everyone is happy, and that for me is what matters.
Knowing that time is swift and would be moving us along faster than I wanted, I tried to make the most out of every moment I had with Santi. I think I can count the number of times I used a stroller because I couldn’t get myself to put him down. I just wanted to keep him in my arms for as long as I could carry him. This is probably why it took him a while to learn how to crawl, but now, he is back on track, crawling all over the house, when he is not “cruising” along the sides of furniture and beds.
But here we are now; a year has passed. One whole year of getting to know this tiny little human being and discovering, to my delight, a happy and cheerful disposition. One whole year of being his Mama and taking care of his every need, from his milk to the hugs and kisses. One year that saw him grow from a delicate and fragile newborn to a chunky crawling boy.
Hint of sadness
But now, the year has passed, and he’s really not the helpless baby he once was. I know this is just the start and soon, he will be exerting his independence even more and trying harder to set himself apart from me, just as his older brother and sister did.
When that time comes, I know I’ll be proud of his achievements, but feel a hint of sadness as I watch life begin to carry him farther and farther away from my reach.
But such is the irony of parenting. I attended a wedding mass a few years ago, and I remember a line from the homily that struck me and has stuck with me all this time. I can’t recall the exact words, but the message was basically, parental love is the only kind of love with the goal and intention of letting go.
Having had three Cesareans, there is the very real possibility of this being my last child. This is probably why letting go of this baby and everything “baby” about him feels bittersweet to me. I can’t help but think that all of his “firsts” may very well be my “lasts.” Beginning from the time I was pregnant, I couldn’t help but think that this might be the last time I would carry another life within me, and feel those butterfly movements and those tiny kicks.
When he came out, I eagerly awaited that first smile and those first steps, cherishing each one—even the experiences such as nursing and falling asleep with him on my chest.
However, despite how much he has grown and how quickly he has changed, he is still every inch a baby to me. And so, in the meantime, I am concentrating on continuing to make the most of every moment I have with him.
I am enjoying his boldness. He is at that stage where he fears nothing. He wants to explore, roam and try everything, especially food! The future has so much in store for all of us, and I can’t wait to explore it. I continue to remind myself to be grateful for all the little things, most especially good health and time together. I try to see things through his and my other children’s eyes so I can always see the wonder and excitement of life.