As I approach the end of the first six months of my new baby's life, I am a bundle of mixed emotions. Each little milestone has been a moment of pure joy, but there is always the tiny voice in the background whispering, "Slow down!" While I long for him to experience new things, to see him grow and develop, I want to cling to the newborn that has already long since vanished. Each new skill acquired and each adorable article of clothing outgrown is a heart-squeezing reminder that another little chapter has ended. Knowing that this will be my last child brings an added dose of melancholy to it all.
Oliver is mostly sitting up unsupported now. The thrill it gives him and the look of radiant pride on his sweet little face remind me that there is still more joy in the journey than there is sadness at the loss of what is past. I have so enjoyed watching my older children grow and evolve as they become more fully the people they are. So I look forward more than back, eager to see who my smallest son will become.
In the midst of all this sleep-deprived emotion, I am approaching my own personal milestone. This is the year I will turn 40. While I believe I have been dreading this ever since I turned 30, I am pleased to say that the dread has lifted. I am no more thrilled than I was before at the sound of the number, but I am much more ready to wear it with pride at what those 40 years mean in my life. I am mostly pleased with how I have spent that time and with where I am as I cross this particular marker. I am pleasantly surprised to report that I still feel very much a young woman and not past my prime or over the hill in any sense. I imagine a good deal of that must be due to this unexpected opportunity to be a new mommy all over again, but the rest I will just credit to good old-fashioned happiness.