Dear last baby
It's 12:41 am. Your 4 year old brother fell asleep "early" at 9:00 pm watching a movie because he's bucking my sacred hours of the day also known as nap time. Your 3 year old and 2 year old sisters went to bed at 10:00 pm after your Mom ran from bed to bed for a zillion hugs and kisses and then turned into the Sunday School jukebox where requests are made for their favorite songs. Their door almost closes except for the, "Wait! I need to tell you something!", and she finally makes it to the couch after shutting down the Keep Momma in our Room operation. Your Dad decides he won't be able to make it through the Redbox movie he rented for us to watch and heads off to bed. Your Nana is close behind him, and your Momma hears her sleeping soundly as she walks past the guest bedroom to check the locked doors.
It's a pretty typical evening for your family except that we're all trying to calculate when you'll decide to join in the crazy. You've already thrown us for a loop because those two sisters that stretch out their last little bit of light before bedtime...they came early. Like your Momma would be awake feeding a 4 day old newborn early. Yet you seem pretty content keeping her awake when five other people are sleeping soundly. She's checked Facebook half a dozen times, placed an order on Amazon, planned out errands for tomorrow, and read some inspiring Mom blogs. She's still up trying to decide whether or not your 3 year old sister needs a personalized first day of school shirt from Etsy (a true necessity, of course!) and wondering if those contractions are the real deal or not.
Truth is, your Momma is both exhausted and wide awake. Impatient and grateful. Hates being pregnant, but loves her babies. She'd be ecstatic if she and your Daddy were heading to the hospital at this very minute, but she can also think of approximately 419 things to do before you arrive. Every day she wonders--will this be the day? Did she remember to put her favorite yoga pants back in the hospital bag after wearing them for the 18th time this week? Does she have enough snacks in the pantry for the oldest three while she's at the hospital? Has your room been cleaned up after they played pirates and used your crib as a ship?
Your life is already crazy, and you aren't even living it on the outside yet. You may have heard this said a few times, but your Momma is ready to get off the pregnant train and board the 4-kids-4-and-under train. She is trying not to complain about the varicose veins running down her leg or that her skin could not possibly stretch any further or that even though it's now 1:34 am, she will have to get up 3 to 4 times in the night to go to the bathroom. Somewhere in between you being a blueberry and a banana, your Momma and Daddy decided that you were it. You get to make all those jokes about how your parents waited for the perfect child before calling it quits. You get to tell everyone about how you will deserve a good ole' spanking but you didn't get one because you're the baby, and your parents will inevitably somehow be more tired than they already are. You already are and will always be the baby of this family.
And since your Momma is still not asleep, her thoughts have had time to settle. She's realized this is the last time she herself will be pregnant. This could be the last night she feels sweet little elbows jarring her in the kidneys while precious little feet attack her lungs. And even though you'll make number 4, she's a little sad that it's almost over. The excitement over your upcoming arrival, the anticipation of not knowing who or what you'll look like, the listening to your heartbeat, the sound of the machine printing out your first ultrasound pictures, the showers where she "Oooo's" and "Ahhh's" over your tiny baby clothes.
And with all of that she knows that there's also the endless washing of bottles that fill the sink, the "rock, paper, scissors" between her and your Daddy over who has to change the poopy diaper, the sleepless nights through the teething phases, and the spending a ridiculous amount of money on that baby laundry detergent. She's done this a time or two (or three). When you arrive, this season of baby craziness will be over. She's sad, your Momma. But she's also thrilled. It's a confusing time for the tired and cranky hormonal pregnant woman who feels like her body is falling apart. She wants to enjoy every last minute of her last pregnancy, but most of the time that looks like sending the early risers to Nana's guest room for a few extra minutes of sleep or eating frozen Snickers in large quantities. Peanuts equal protein, am I right?
So here she lays (because sitting is uncomfortable), thanking God that she already has three precious children who deny God's great gift of sleep. Thanking Him for the protection of our sweet little home and the comfort of a couch because having those things is an extension of His goodness. Thanking Him that she has a sacrificial husband who works so hard that he is exhausted at the end of the day. Thanking Him for a gold star Grandma who will spend 6 days at our house to bring relief in the household chores and will be here if you arrive. Thanking Him that your little heart is still beating and that your little legs are still kicking and that she will get to kiss the last little baby's cheeks so soon. At least, she hopes.
"Last baby" arrived approximately 8 days later, which is also equivalent to forever.
Grace Giver: Give some grace and a helping hand to the tired, pregnant Mommas in your circle. Hold a door, carry a diaper bag, pick up a paci, bake a meal, and most importantly, say a prayer. Raising babies while also carrying a baby is a mental and a physical journey (and emotional and spiritual and financial just to name a few).
Truth Teller: Praise God when you are sleep-deprived. Be grateful even when your babies are fussy all. day. long. Have a joyful heart when your body is coming apart at the seams. When our hearts are bent towards being thankful rather than being discontent, we remember that Jesus is our source of joy.