Babies of the Family

I guess I really didn’t get what the big deal was about being the baby of the family until we had to send our own Baby of the Family off. Ever since I can remember and even after I grew taller than Mom, she always referred to me as “Her Baby” or “Our Baby” or “The Baby of the Family.” Mom liked saying all those phrases with a laugh after I grew to be taller than her.

My Mom's Baby of the Family

My Mom’s Baby of the Family

When I was very small I thought, “I am not a baby. I wish she would stop calling me that.” In my mind, I balled up my fists and stomped. In real life, I just took it and smiled because I sort of got a lot of attention from those phrases. I guess it bothered me enough though that I decided I wouldn’t call my youngest child “The Baby of the Family” or “Our Baby” or “My Baby,” until now because My Baby started his first day of college the other day.

My Baby and Me

My Baby and Me

A few days before we left to drop Matt off, Laura said, “Mom, why are you so worried? Matt is probably the most independent one in the family. He’s even more independent that you are.” It was true. I guess I was just worried about how I was going to handle moving the youngest one out of the nest, and I knew it would be a tough day for me. One would think that I would be used to sending kids off to college by now, but I’m not. That feeling of missing them when they’re gone doesn’t go away.

The Babies All Together!

Our Babies All Together!

Since Mike and I helped Matt move in on a Saturday, and because it’s such a long drive home, Mike announced that we should really get a move on early Sunday morning. I agreed and realized then that my hug with Matt the Saturday night before was my good-bye hug. As we drove away from town and kept getting farther away from My Baby, I couldn’t help but sniffle. Memories of favorite days spent with Matt when he was just a little kid started to pop into my mind.

Matt and I used to like to hang out by the bridge by our house. Back then, I decided I would sit and watch as long as Matt wanted me to no matter how long it took, and I always was ready to sit on the bridge even if we had just done that same thing the day before. The trees towered high over the water, and it was like we had our own little fort just for us. Matt searched for handfuls of rocks on the side of the creek, and he threw rock after rock into the water just to see how far away it would land and what kind of splash it would make. We would comment on which were the “good ones” by how big the splash was. I knew that the next year when Matt would be in kindergarten that he probably wouldn’t want to throw rocks in the creek with his Mom just to see what kind of splash they make, and I was right.

Plus Our Baby was the last one of our kids that Dad and I got to share and teach childhood things to. You know, some things like how to:

• tie shoes;
• ride a bike;
• put on and tie skates;
• roller skate and ice skate;
• float and swim;
• hold hands while crossing the street or just because it felt nice and secure;
• remain calm during thunderstorms by giving hugs;
• listen to bedtime stories; and
• say bedtime prayers.

After we got home, I wrote out a grocery list for the coming week. I tried to stop those sniffles from coming back as I realized I wouldn’t have to buy Gatorade, frozen pizzas and Oreos for a little while. I wandered up to see the state of Matt’s bedroom with vacuum cleaner in hand. His room looked pretty bare and as if he took almost all of his possessions with him. I briefly noticed a white, plastic Target bag on his bookshelf and thought it must be some sort of trash, but when I got a text from Matt later that day, he said that there was a bag on his bookshelf, and that it was a present for me and Dad.

I retrieved the bag, searched for Dad, and we opened it together. A card was on top, and the first sentence started by saying, “Thanks for all your love and support.” More tears had to be wiped away as I realized Babies of the Family do grow up. My Mom’s endearing phrase stuck with me that day, and I finally figured out that it’s not so bad being called the Baby of the Family after all.

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14 thoughts on “Babies of the Family

  1. what a lovely post, and even more special, what a fantastic child you have raised. How thoughtful to leave a present for mom and dad. Loved it!

  2. What a sweet and caring son you raised! I’m very impressed that he thought ahead to leave a gift for you and his dad! My boys – much as I love them – would never do something like that!

    I can surely relate to how you feel sending your youngest off to school. My only daughter is my baby, and having always been very close to her, it was hard sending her off – even though this was her second year in college! I wonder if some of us just don’t ever truly get over the fact that our babies have grown up!

  3. This post is awfully close to home. I hadn’t realized how our families mirror each other so…the number of kids, spacing, genders. And next year I send off my baby.
    My heart goes out to you. Even when it is a good thing, it is still hard letting go. Thinking of you (and knowing next it will be me!).

  4. I can so relate to this. The empty nest-OMG my baby’s gone-who will I nurture now, is the reason I got Sampson.

    It is hard and sad, it seems like we devote our entirely lives to them and we get so wrapped up in them that we sort of lose track of ourselves.

    It does sound like you’ve raised a wonderful man. You should give yourself a pat on the back. 🙂

  5. Great story! So many parents are feeling that way this time of the year. It brought back memories
    of our son and our daughter going off to college. It was hard but it all works out.

  6. What a sweet thing for your baby to do, leaving you a gift. It sounds like you have raised a kind and considerate young man. I can imagine the change in your household will encompass a little bit of every part of your life for a while.

    I have a long way to go before that day in which my baby leaves home, about fourteen years, but I fear it may go by much faster than I would like and leave me wishing for one more fistful of stones to throw into the water with him just to see what type of splash it will make… A very touching post.

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