There is always a last time with children.
The last time you snuggle next to them and kiss their nose. The last time you comb their hair for them. The last time you bathe that sweet little bottom. Sometimes we know, this is the last time. For instance, when a child starts school there is a lot more to their tiny little world. They aren’t really yours entirely. Part of them goes on with their little friends and they make secrets they won’t tell you. It’s not that they are hiding things it’s just that they won’t tell you every detail and you can’t know everything about them anymore. They do things that scare them and make them laugh and you aren’t part of it. You were once their entire world and now you’re just a moon in their world. There was a point with each older child that I’d think, “this is the last time.” This is the last time she’ll come to me crying because she slipped and fell. This is the last time I’ll open his new toy with his eager little hands waiting to grab it. This is the last time she’ll lay naked on the porch and see no shame. Sometimes I was wrong and sometimes I was right.
I can’t tell you the last time my middle child wanted to cuddle or to be kissed. She is on the spectrum and her sensory issues prevent her from enjoying physical contact. As a child she would snuggle up and then one day it was over. She’d say, “please don’t touch me. I don’t like to be touched” and shrink away. I stopped. It broke my heart but I did not want her to dread me being with her so I stopped.
My oldest child is the opposite. Even at 13 he would welcome a hug. He’s awkward and his voice gets deeper every day. I’ve started this thing where before bed each night I say something positive to each child. Such as, “I’m very happy with your grade on your quiz. It makes me proud that you studied and worked hard.” My two older ones were in Lennon’s room and when I said my positives for the day he said, “And I didn’t even get a hug!” He will still lay his man-boy head in my lap right this second.
When I began kettle bell workouts it was with a goal in mind, to be able to lift Story as long as physically possible. She’s my last little one and I wanted to be able to carry her if needed and pick her up when I wanted. Now I find her long lean legs wrap around me and her arms drape over my shoulders. About two months ago a disc in my back that had slipped out of place about ten years ago acted up again and I know I should stop carrying her for any distance. Let it be said that when the disc did this before I had another little one I had to stop lifting.
I’ve kept her home from school this year because I just wanted to. People sort of act like I’m insane for choosing to do so. She turned five in July and I had the option to send her and chose not to. I told myself she wasn’t ready and that I’d spend this school year prepping her. We bought some workbooks and I quickly learned how ready she is. She has flown through her workbooks and now I’m wondering if it was selfish of me to keep her this year. Doesn’t really matter because I made the choice and it’s done. I run my own home based business and in reality my work would be 100 times easier with her gone to school. Any day that I get more than an hour of uninterrupted work is a miracle. Just in writing this short piece I’ve had a “real dr checkup” on my whole body using plastic utensils, I’ve told her to stop squeezing the cat twice- different cat each time, and she’s asked me if she can have chocolate milk and I’ve gotten up to make it. But after this year she’ll be gone from me and in a way she’ll never return so I kept her.
If you follow my blog or know me in real life you know I have a rather large procedure coming up the end of September and the recovery is a lengthy one. I’m told four weeks before I can return to walking and it could be months before I can begin to run or lift kettle bells. I know that by the time I’m healed my 45 pound five year old will be a tad bit larger and my time carrying and lifting her needs to be over. So for me this surgery marks the end of a lot of different things, some good, some sad. I know this may have happened anyway in that time frame but the fact that it’s me who has to end it makes me sad.
I find myself lugging her around just because I can right now. I pick her up knowing my days are numbered and soon I’ll have to stop. I’ll have to say the words, “I can’t pick you up anymore.” Those words, “I can’t pick you up anymore.” There is a lump in my throat just typing them. My heart aches to think of her sweet little face when I say them.
So today I will carry my love even though I shouldn’t.