Good Night Precious Baby

Tonight as I tucked my daughter in, while we completed our ritual nose kisses, a tear rolled down my cheek as I realized this would be the last time I would put her to bed as a baby. As her face became blurry in the wake of my tears, her small hands cradled my face and she said, "Mommee crying?".

"Yes." I answered.

"I sorry mommee."

Don't be sorry, precious baby. Tonight I lay you down a baby and tomorrow, by the world's standards, you will be a toddler. Yes this causes me sadness, because you are the last baby of my body, and all of your lasts are my lasts too. The last time I fed you before you picked up a spoon, the last time you crawled; all were bittersweet moments as this one, knowing that you're growing up into the woman I will someday share many joys with, but all the while remembering the baby in my arms not so long ago. It causes an ache in my heart to think of those first days getting to know you, the months when you grew so fast and furious into this jumble of joy you are now. But my heart also swells when I see you playing dress up, conversing in oh-so-grown-up words with your brother, and telling me you "love me much" while giving me fierce bear hugs with your infamous death grip.

So don't be sorry, dear, sweet, loved baby of mine. You are growing the way nature intended, growing as strong and smart and loving as I could have wished. I will shed tears now and in the future many times as I watch you grow from girl to teen to woman but in my heart I know that even then, even as you may clutch your own babe to your chest, you, darling Ely, will still be mine.

"I'll like you forever
I'll love you for always
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be."

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