I have never truly been able to understand what it is like to be the youngest child as I am the oldest in my family of siblings. I have a brother who is three years younger, and a sister who is fifteen years younger. In my mind, the youngest – the baby of the family – is always spoiled, always coddled, always the one who receives a little “extra” for being the youngest. To compensate perhaps? I do not know.
My little man turned eight years old today. He has been looking forward to this particular birthday since before the holidays. Every few days he would ask, “How many more months till my birthday?” When the blessed month of March finally arrived his question turned to, “How many more days till my birthday?”
So eager to be older. So eager to grow up. So eager to be more like his big brother. So discontent at being the youngest, the baby. So eager to be better at something, anything, then his brother is. He is adamant about leaving his mark on the world, talking constantly of being a World Wresting Entertainment superstar when he grows up. He practices his “signature finisher move” on the pillows in his bedroom, crashing down onto his bed from death-defying heights (jumping off his desk chair and onto the bed).
He is my last. There will be no more – the possibility ended when he was born. He does not see how desperately I hang on to him, to prolong his childhood. He knows he has me wrapped around his little finger, and he uses it to his advantage, daily. He knows not the joy that his infectious smile gives me every morning, the pain that squeezes my heart when he is unhappy or sad, the warmth that spreads through me at one of his bear hugs.
I wish for him – as I do all of my children – to have a life that is filled with love, joy, happiness, friendship, and success. I want them to be able to achieve their heart’s desires, to fly through their educational years with flying colors and to take the world by storm. To make their lives count, to be a blessing to others. But him?
I want to hang onto my baby…just a little while longer.