This morning, TD announced, “I’m going to dress myself!” Armed with a few key reminders (“Tag in back,” etc.), he did just that, lickety split.
Now, this shouldn’t be a big deal. By this age, the other little people were sewing their own clothes, not just putting them on—okay, not really, but close. They all had at least one younger sibling to share their spotlight; they were little helpers and leaders—“knee babies” as Grandma called them, who had to move out of the way. But TD is everybody’s baby, and he works the roomful of eight mamas and papas willing and able to cater to his every whim. My constant prayer is that we don’t let our precious fruit spoil on the vine, but I’m starting to notice some overripe spots, right behind the ears he doesn’t wash himself.
The blessing and the curse? He’s the last. The last I breastfed. The last to get a first tooth. The last first steps we witnessed. The last to learn to read. We all cling—and yes, I more than most—because we won’t get these “firsts” again. We delay their arrival and departure as much as possible, even to our own detriment. Sure, it makes more work, but it also keeps him…well, a baby. So, call us Dr. and Mrs. Frankenstein. Meet our cute little monster.
But as I watched TD struggle to put his right foot through the right leg of his shorts, I took heart: he’s still my baby; he still needs me. And that won’t ever change, if my own Mama is any example. Even with a husband and my own little people, I’m still her baby; she’s still willing to dry my tears and help me clean up my messes.
And aren’t we all Somebody’s babies, we, the dear little ones of our Abba Father? He cheers our success. He mourns our losses. He encourages our independence, giving us the freedom to choose, room to grow, and space to fall. Yet He holds us close to Him and shelters us, because our real freedom is in Christ. God’s love saves, blesses, and provides. It also chastens, disciplines, and corrects. I think about the career and time I’ve “sacrificed” for my little people, but my dear Father willingly gave up His life for His own. For me. For TD.
Yes, I know there’s more sweet than bitter as we watch TD grow. When we behold our quiver, we know there’s much to look forward to, and yes, sadly, just as much to miss.
So, happy Independence Day, TD. This tiny step for you was a big step for Pearson-kind.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5)