When you're older, and your brother and sister give you grief over the benefits and perks of being the baby of the family, I encourage you to offer them the following reminder. For the last 15 months, you have been in the business of accommodating their social wants and academic needs.
One of the 'perks' of being the baby of the family includes playing the part of tag-along to all things "Eliza and Henry!!" Whether it's shuttling the kids to and from school,
being chased up and down the bleachers while we wait out a swimming lesson,
or watching in awe from the doorway as your sister begins her dance lesson,
it's clear that you've graduated from that phase of blissful ignorance to...
"Hey! When will it be my turn?!"
Henry knows from first hand experience, that this phase will pass. Before you know it, your Mom will be coughing up another painful registration fee on your behalf as she begs her brain to make room for another extra-curricular.
In the meantime, I want to offer reassurance that you are already in the thick of things. You are an intrinsic part of our family and I thank my lucky stars that after dropping Henry off at preschool, that you're still there, waiting to be plucked out of your car seat as we carry on with our day. The time we spend alone, while the older two are off and away, is time I cherish.
Yesterday morning, Eliza requested that I drop her off at the top of the sidewalk instead of parking the car, per our usual routine. Until now, I've assisted her each morning to class. Knowing she was perfectly safe, and finding myself fresh out of excuses, I commended her for her big kid decision. After kissing and hugging "goodbye" in the car, she bravely made the little journey to her Kindergarten door unaided. Watching her dodge the fast-paced older kids as she navigated her way down the sidewalk (*pause, wipe a tear) was hard. I tried my best to suck it up.
The independence I forfeited when I became a Mother is not something I want back anymore. The more dependent they become, the less they need me and oh, that hurts. So yes, dear Lottie, you are not a tag-along . You are my special buddy, just as the other two were at this age, and I want to thank you for being so accommodating as you adapt to schedule changes and behave as well as you do on our outings. In the future, time spent as an empty nester, will be time spent in a therapist's office.
Life isn't always sunshine and roses, I'll freely admit, as your demands and insatiable want to have Mom, "RIGHT THIS SECOND" will conflict with the need to get Eliza ready for school, my want for a free moment to think or the need to safely complete dinner. There are times when I find myself running to put you in your crib for a nap because your exhaustion has replaced your charm with severe grumpiness. However, at bedtime, when I pass by your door, my heart will begin to panic. In my head, I imagine that when you wake up, a six year old version of you will be waiting for me instead of my baby.
Don't tell Eliza and Henry, but Daddy's eyes first find you when he walks through the door. In his defense, he does spend special time with Eliza (sometime Henry, if he's awake) each morning before going to work. He loves you all so much, but it's easy to see that the spell you've cast has settled deep upon him.
Selfishly, I need you.
Smitten, Daddy can't get enough of you.
And with full acceptance, Eliza and Henry can't imagine a world without you.