I’m here to tell you that writing these mini salutes to my children the past couple of days has kept me close to the tissue box. I find that as I try and write this last one that I am tearing up before I even start. It seems that the baby makes me cry the most. She is associated with so many lasts.
If only I knew how much I would miss those things now. The last time she fell asleep in my arms. The last time I made her boo boo feel better with just a kiss. The last time she came in with a fist full of dandelions. The last time I was the smartest person she knew. The last time she said “Mom, watch me.” The last time she crawled in my lap. The last time I fell asleep while she read to me. I know that sounds backwards, but in our house the kids read to me before bed and I always fell asleep to the lull of their voices. Waking only to help with a hard word and quickly dozing off again.
For the last time I was going to have a baby. I was pretty sure was in labor. I checked with my OBGYN neighbor and she said, “No, you are much too pleasant to be in labor.” Half hour later I called the doctors office and she said, “Well, maybe, but you sound too pleasant. Go to bed and we’ll probably see you tomorrow.” Half hour later the nurse is wheeling me in and asking me how I feel. “I’m ready to push.” She chuckles and pats my shoulder. Five minutes later the nurse goes running out of my room to get the doctor. Five minutes later six nurses are prepping me for labor. Five minutes later the doctor slides in, barefoot, just in time to catch her. Ten minutes after that I am signing the paper work giving everyone permission to deliver my baby.
That is the very last time Ellen was ever involved in doing something out of order.
My last chance for legal narcotics-foiled again. At least this time I realized that I could have a plan, but things weren’t necessarily going to go according to that plan. I am really getting a good grip on this parenting thing. With this child I will surely make no mistakes.
Ellen always has a plan. She doesn’t need any help seeing it to fruition. She completes her plans pretty regularly. This is different than what I am used to…
This one gave me a run for my money. For as haphazard as I am, she is orderly. For as gray as my rules are, hers are black and white. For as much as I go with the flow, she has a thought out plan. As a matter of fact Ellen runs best when there is a plan. Don’t tell her we are going to the grocery, the park, the pool and the library and then not go to the library. She will become unglued at the end of the day when she realizes the plan has changed.
This one threw me for a loop. She did not like hair bows and dresses. No matter how hard her older sister pushed that bow on her head she would rip it out and toss it casually to the ground. She would rather play in the dirt than help make cookies. Her hair was always a little messy. She had a temper. She had meltdowns. She cried for her daddy. She followed the rules. She ratted out those that didn’t. She was brave. Logic was her MO. She is most definitely not haphazard. She is self sufficient. She needs me the least of the three. She gets in no trouble. I did not understand this child of mine. I was certain I had all the parental knowledge I needed and then…Ellen.
She has no fear of aliens. She will never make a video about pooping. She realizes the idiocy of being shocked by a dog collar. She is not influenced by peer pressure. She has snored since she was two. It’s pretty loud. She functions best when she has rules to follow. She color coordinates her textbooks, folders and notebooks. She adores shopping for school supplies. Her pet of choice is a fish. She doesn’t cry often but if the fish’s life is in peril she’s a basket case. The loss of Steve the Trailblazer still causes her grief. She does fear going in to have her tonsils out which is why hers are the size of golf balls. All the time. Her favorite animal is a rhino.
At three, she was a fisher woman. She could yank an eight inch night crawler out of the mud and rip him into three pieces and think nothing of it. Something her mom cringed at. She loves to have a good bruise. She played lacrosse. She is not easily intimidated. She is conscientious. She loves with all her heart. But will cut yours out if you cross her, or someone she loves. She can be soft but will argue with me that it’s not true. She has her daddy’s good qualities and is a bit like my sister. But she will argue with me that that is not true either. The world better watch out.
She is in college. And likes it. If you need something done, Ellen is your woman. She studies. She is an introvert. She needs her down time. She is afraid of the police. She loves a good prison. She is studying criminal justice. There are rules there. There are guidelines for what happens if you break the rules. It is a very black and white profession. Ellen loves order and justice. Unless it is regarding her bedroom. She will now argue with me that her room is orderly. She learns by example, as in, I saw my brother and sister try it that way, it didn’t work, I won’t try that. What a concept. She is original. She prefers snow to sand. She may have an addiction to carbs. She likes things that are awkward.
She will make it using her own abilities. She finishes what she starts. I drive her crazy. Her siblings drive her crazy. Bob drives her crazy. She prefers people to be a bit grumpy rather than happy all the time. Happy all the time drives her crazy. People who hug drive her crazy.Hugs are few and far between. Little does she know this makes them more precious. She does not like emotions, nor does she like people who have emotions. I was told I could not drop her off at college if there was a chance I might cry. I did not cry while there, but I cried a good hour on the way home.
When I first found out I was pregnant with number three it was a shock. I was not going to have three children. God once again laughs at my plans. I did not have an appreciation of the gift she would be. As my last baby I held her more. I let her sleep in my bed more. I let her get a way with more. I let her do more. I appreciate her lasts more because they are my lasts too.
Ellen is the child that made me grow up. Ellen is the child that is the least like me. Ellen is the child that I strive to be more like. Ellen is my last teacher. The least patient teacher. The most difficult teacher. Lessons I won’t soon forget. Partly because she won’t let me. I adore my baby girl. I am so proud of her strength and perseverance. I envy her ability to stay on the straight and narrow. I admire the way she confidently chooses a path, goes for it and stick with it. I will always strive to be more like her. I love her, my last little.