That Time I Had a Baby at 45

      13 Comments on That Time I Had a Baby at 45

Our family has a lot to celebrate this week: Yesterday was my youngest daughter’s birthday. Today is my birthday. Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday. And the following day marks the 30th anniversary of the day we met, which also happens to be “Lovers Day” — isn’t that fitting?

I’ve taken my own aging and my husband’s advancing years in stride. Turning 50 didn’t faze me last year, and 51 doesn’t seem like a big deal, either (although I have noticed my bones creaking a lot more now than they did a decade ago).

The thing that’s been hardest to accept is the idea that this sweet little baby could be six years old already:

That Time I Had a Baby at 45

She’s growing up so fast! She can read. She can ride a bike without training wheels. She even lost her first tooth yesterday!

But the fact that there are no younger siblings trailing in her wake makes the bittersweetness of each new milestone particularly poignant. That’s why I made it one of my New Year’s resolutions this year to hold Abigail in my lap at least once every day: I know those days of cuddling will end far sooner than I’m ready to say goodbye to them.

Incidentally, Abby told me that one of her New Year’s resolutions was to sit in my lap at least once every day — so it’s been working out beautifully so far. We’ve only missed one day in four months — March 1. (That was election day for the Texas state primaries, and I worked the polls all day, personally checking in and credentialing one thousand, one hundred fifteen voters in the span of 12 hours. It meant leaving the house before Abby woke up and returning after she’d gone to bed, so no lap time that day. 🙁 )

Abigail was born the day before I turned 45. I had my first child at 23, my second 16 months later, and another every couple of years after that for two decades. One of the best benefits of big-family living is that I haven’t had to give up the joys of one stage to embrace the pleasures of the next.

I’ve been able to nurse babies and cuddle toddlers and read with grade schoolers and nurture adolescents and teach teens to drive and attend graduations and converse with adult children and witness marriages and welcome grandchildren — all at the same time! That’s been absolutely amazing as long as it’s lasted.

Barbara Kingsolver Quote -- So true!!

But now that I’ve (most likely) reached the end of those precious childbirthing years, I’m more acutely aware than ever, as my little ones pass milestone after milestone, that some of my favorite aspects of motherhood are being left behind in the transition. I don’t want to take any of these moments for granted, which is probably why the following poem so resonates with me at this stage of my life:

The Last Time

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
You will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before,
When you had freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.
You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feeding and burping,
Whining and fighting,
Naps, or lack of naps. It might seem like a never-ending cycle.

But don’t forget…
There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed your baby
for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.

One day you will carry them on your hip,
then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake for this.
One afternoon you will sing “The Wheels on the Bus”
and do all the actions,
Then you’ll never sing that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
Then the next day, they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your
last dirty face.
They will one day run to you with arms raised,
for the very last time.

The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
Until there are no more times, and even then,
It will take you a while to realise.

So while you are living in these times,
Remember there are only so many of them and
When they are gone,
You will yearn for just one more day of them…
For one last time.

Author unknown

If your baby is still a baby, savor the sweet moments while you can. If your youngest has grown up faster than you ever imagined possible, then you can undoubtedly relate to this poem as much as I do. (I don’t know who wrote it. If you do, please share in the comment section below.)

Of course, there’s no stopping the march of time — and I wouldn’t want to, even if I could. It is vitally important that we let our children grow up, that we encourage and facilitate their maturity and independence, and that we — little by little — learn to let go.

But as long as my little girl still wants to crawl into my lap to snuggle, I’m gonna let her do just that!




How Do I Love Thee? A Devotional Journal for Wives

13 thoughts on “That Time I Had a Baby at 45

    1. Jennifer Flanders Post author

      You may be right, Letitia, although the only poem I could find by Karen Kingsbury on a similar theme is different than the one quoted above. Is the following poem the one you had in mind?

      Let Me Hold You Longer
      By Karen Kingsbury

      Long ago you came to me,
      a miracle of firsts:
      First smiles and teeth and baby steps,
      a sunbeam on the burst.
      But one day you will move away
      and leave to me your past,
      And I will be left thinking of
      a lifetime of your lasts . . .

      The last time that I held a bottle
      to your baby lips.
      The last time that I lifted you
      and held you on my hip.
      The last night when you woke up crying,
      needing to be walked,
      When last you crawled up with your blanket
      wanting to be rocked.
      The last time when you ran to me,
      still small enough to hold.
      The last time that you said you’d marry
      me when you grew old.

      Precious, simple moments and
      bright flashes from your past –
      Would I have held on longer if
      I’d known they were your last?

      Our last adventure to the park,
      your final midday nap,
      The last time when you wore your favorite
      faded baseball cap.
      Your last few hours of kindergarten,
      those last days of first grade.
      Your last at bat in Little League,
      last colored picture made.
      I never said good-bye to all
      your yesterdays long passed.
      So what about tomorrow –
      will I recognize your lasts?

      The last time that you catch a frog
      in that old backyard pond.
      The last time that you run barefoot
      across our fresh-cut lawn.
      Silly, scattered images
      will represent your past.
      I keep on taking pictures,
      never quite sure of your lasts . . .

      The last time that I comb your hair
      or stop a pillow fight.
      The last time that I pray with you
      and tuck you in at night.
      The last time when we cuddle
      with a book, just me and you.
      The last time you jump in our bed
      and sleep between us two.
      The last piano lesson,
      last vacation to the lake.
      Your last few weeks of middle school
      last soccer goal you make.
      I look ahead and dream of days
      that haven’t come to pass.
      But as I do, I sometimes miss
      today’s sweet, precious lasts . . .

      The last time that I help you with
      a math or spelling test.
      The last time when I shout that yes,
      your room is still a mess.
      The last time that you need me for
      a ride from here to there.
      The last time that you spend the night
      with your old tattered bear.
      My life keeps moving faster,
      stealing precious days that pass.
      I want to hold on longer –
      want to recognize your lasts . . .

      The last time that you need my help
      with details of a dance.
      The last time that you ask me for
      advice about romance.
      The last time that you talk to me
      about your hopes and dreams.
      The last time that you wear a jersey
      for your high school team.
      I’ve watched you grow and barely noticed
      seasons as they pass.
      If I could freeze the hands of time,
      I’d hold on to your lasts.

      For come some bright fall morning,
      you’ll be going far away.
      College life will beckon
      in a brilliant sort of way.
      One last hug, one last good-bye,
      one quick and hurried kiss.
      One last time to understand
      just how much you’ll be missed.
      I’ll watch you leave and think how fast
      our time together passed.
      Let me hold on longer, God, to every precious last.

      That one’s a bit of a tear-jerker, too, isn’t it?

      Reply
  1. Amanda J.

    I sent this post to many of my friends asking if they needed a cleansing cry. God used this post to speak to me on so many levels. Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing it.

    Reply
  2. Mrs. B

    April is our busy month too. The first week of April we have three bdays in a row, my eldest turns 20 today, and another a week from today. My youngest, who turned three this month, was born when I was 45. We waited, not realizing all that we were missing. So it does make me a little sad that our little guy is probably the last.

    Reply
  3. Josie Wong

    Thank you for a beautiful post. My youngest of 7 is 10 now; he is affectionate and sweet, and it does tug at my heart to think of him turning into a 13 year old in a couple of years, leaving behind all little boyness. I had him when I was 46, and his oldest sister was 18. I am deeply grateful for my two “bonus boys,” born after a series of miscarriages.

    Reply
  4. Beth

    So beautiful! It’s true for more than one reason. I’m 40 and am holding my 7 month old (she’s number seven, too). But this poem also brought me to tears because we lost our firstborn son when he was 5. I remember seeing his sippy cup on the table when we got home from the hospital. The last time he used it was at lunch. I remember seeing his pajamas on the couch. The last time he changed that morning. I remember the last time he cuddled between his dad and me on the couch, the night before. Sometimes they grow up, sometimes they just are taken home early. Either way, it ends way too soon. But the lessons God uses them to teach us are so important! Thank you, Jennifer!!

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Flanders Post author

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Beth. As hard as it can be watching them grow up, there’s no guarantee they’ll grow up at all — or that we still be around when they do. Thanks for the reminder to cherish every day for that reason, as well.

      Reply
  5. Donna Smith

    Love this JENNIFER! It reflects my heart as well. Landrie is soon to turn 13 and not a day goes by that we don’t savor every aspect of her childhood. She has been our long awaited blessing and we often refer to her as “The cherry on top of life’s ice cream sundae.” ;0)

    Reply
  6. Brenda Minica

    Wonderful post Jennifer! I am cuddling Baby #11 right now, born in January. I will be 44 years old in June and am trying to enjoy every minute as I know very well that he may be my last. And just in case the other commenter reads this, I have had 3 babies in my 40’s so far, so yes – there is hope!

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Flanders Post author

      Congratulations, Brenda! We missed family camp last year, so I didn’t know you were expecting again. I had three in my forties, too. I also have a friend who had a baby at 50, so I haven’t completely given up hope yet for a #13. 🙂

      Reply
  7. jc2249

    Thanks for sharing this – on a day when I am finding not having children at 40 so saddening, it was lovely to see a facebook post proclaiming there is hope of children after 40!

    Reply

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