Twelve years ago today, right around this time, my youngest was a couple of hours old. (Born at 8:12 a.m., always a morning person, just like his father and so unlike his mother). The bustle of birth had died down and his father had gone to get our 18-month-old daughter so she could meet her brother. Just a baby herself, she didn’t get who this new creature was. “It’s the baby.” I told her. “The one that was in Mommy’s belly!” She looked skeptical. She tried to pull off his ears, then snuggled up next to him and fell asleep. It was one of those moments in life you know even as they’re happening that you’ll always remember. I had my perfect little bookends, my Andreanna and my Zachary, my A through Z, my everything.
This morning, said baby woke up to make a video for his YouTube subscribers. His “fans” were waiting, he joked. I looked him over, his little mustache starting to grow, taller than me, his hands and feet bigger than mine now. He’s finally grown into his ears, and they’ve survived his sister’s many tugs. It struck me that today is the first day of my last year as the mother of a “kid.” Next year I’ll have two teenagers. I have no idea how the minutes slipped past each other into years, then into this.
I remember the young woman I was when they were born, incredulous that they were actually going to let me take these babies home as if I were in any way qualified to be responsible for two human lives. She still lives inside me, that scared young mother, but she’s covered in layers of the grizzled old veteran mom who runs her house with the precision of a drill sergeant, who can handle a scraped knee, a long heart to heart about mean girls, a last-minute social studies project and laying down the law on Facebook usage. Before breakfast. Without breaking stride. I am the mother I used to marvel at when my two toddlers were melting down at the store and I felt totally hopeless. It still feels like a recent memory that may recur any day and not at all like a decade-old bygone it actually is.
If there is one moment I wish I could bottle, it would be this one. Life, in general, is the happiest it’s ever been for me. It’s filled with a peace and joy I never imagined I’d have. My kids are at the perfect age where they’re as interesting as grown-ups but as sweet as children. I finally know that letting me take them home, clueless as I was, made my life infinitely better, and turned out to be a pretty good deal for them as well. But, of course, part of the exquisite joy of any perfect moment is the recognition that even as you notice it, it’s already gone.
Feeling philosophical on my baby’s last kid birthday.