It has been a week of heightened emotion as I came to the realization that my maternity leave is entering its last few months and my baby boy is inching towards his first birthday. His gummy grin is filling up with teeth, he’s eating solid foods and now that he’s on the move, he can find his way to me when he wants to.
I think it’s hitting me particularly hard this time because I know that it’s the last. Our family is wonderfully complete and the end of this leave marks the end of pregnancies and newborns in our house. And as confident as I am in that decision, it does hurt my heart a little to think that my time with those little baby packages curled up and sleeping on my chest is over.
The week started with the realization that I need an action plan for my boy who doesn’t take a bottle and doesn’t take enough from a sippy cup to get the liquids he needs. I’m going to have to start weaning him in about six weeks and I can’t even begin to express the emotions that will overtake me when he’s done nursing. I have loved everything about it – every quiet moment, every soft sigh of contentment, every smile that looked up at me during feeding and every time one of their little hands played with my hair, stroked my skin or held my hand while they ate. It’s hard to believe this time is almost over.
Then as we were closing up our camp for the winter, I realized that the jolly jumper that has hung from the rafters for five years could come down. All three of the kids spent a pile of time in it – jumping, laughing and looking out the window at the lake. Again, hard to believe that it’s time to take it down.
Finally, at my son’s nine month check-up this week we found out that it was time to move him out of the infant bucket seat. We bought it in 2006 before our first was born and since then it has protected our three little bundles as well as my nephew. It has been all over the maritimes, driven to Ontario and even took a trip to Arizona. Ironically, the timing could not have been better as the seat actually expired last month. As I stuck an expired sign on it and put it out with the garbage this week, I couldn’t help but think about how much faith was put into that little seat. I was reminded about how the shoulder straps completely overtook the kids when we put them in there on our way home from the hospital and how in a short nine months, the seat could go from seeming gigantic to seeming so small underneath them.
As fate would have it, on garbage day I ran outside to put the last dirty diaper in the trash as the truck was pulling up outside our house. I tucked it into a bag just as the man picked up that infant seat and pitched it nonchalantly into the back of the truck. I stood there dumbfounded watching it mix around with the garbage and it was then that the floodgates opened. As the big steel crusher came down on my baby seat, it felt like the biggest, most dramatic symbol possible to end the new baby era in our house. For a fleeting moment I considered diving in to save it (maybe it could be bronzed?) but instead, I turned around, wiped a tear and walked inside. Bye bye reproductive years – thank you for filling my heart and making me excited about all the future has to bring.
Deanna lives in Dartmouth with her husband and three children. When she’s not reading stories, dancing to ABBA or burping a baby, she works in communications for Bell Aliant.