A bittersweet Farewell...

Well, we've made it official.
I won't elaborate on the details but this little family of five is forever a family of five.

I must say my farewell to the butterfly kicks, the eager anticipation of a new arrival, the beauty of a first hello, and very soon, I will be saying goodbye to the tender moments of just me and baby in the rocking chair as I nurse him one last time.

This is so bittersweet for me.

While I've been anxiously awaiting this next chapter, I've also been trying to slow it down. I'm excited for the freedom over the horizon as the kids step more boldly into their new-found independence but I'm also deeply saddened by the unavoidable memories that will begin to fade with time.

Did I take enough pictures? Did I inhale his sweet milky scent enough? Did I rock him long enough?

All these questions creep in and while they may seem utterly heartbreaking, I am at the same time, filled with joy over them. The joy that I got to have this experience and that I held onto it as long as I did.
What will it be like to never carry another baby? To never again watch as my belly grows with the miracle of life within? I've yet to really "feel" all of this, since I'm just stepping out of it.
I'm sometimes worried that it will break my heart.

I've spent, what seems like, the majority of my life in this stage and it's as if I'm embarking on a premature "empty-nest" experience.
It's crazy that I feel this way actually. If you came back 8 years with me, this is not where I would have expected to be. At least not emotionally. Being such a young mom, all I could think of was when the day would come when I could run free. I dreamt of the time when I'd have the "freedom" to "do what I wanted." But now as I see that reality just ahead of me, I'm struck by the selfish naivety of it all.

What was I thinking?
I know I should cut 20 year me a little slack, but oh how I wish I could go back and give myself a good talking to. I would have savoured those moments so much more. Those years of being a young, new mom that I so fatefully took for granted.

So how do I take on this next step with grace, joy, and courage? How do I look the monster of goodbye in the eyes and move forward? Once again, like every other hurdle in my life, I will cling to the coat tails of that little leather-bound book. I will jump into the arms of the only one who holds the strength to get me through the next door. And yes, it will hurt but I will be joyful! This is all a gift. Every second I get to live in this world and hold those tiny hands, or those one day adult hands, is a beautiful and undeserved gift.
And that's just how I will move forward...
with a heart full of gratitude, clutching to every single first step, silly giggle, and every midnight wake-up. Eagerly anticipating what's ahead and tenderly releasing everything behind.

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