When I was young, I imagined what my family would be like. I thought I would have two children: one boy and one girl (Obviously). Their names would be Cooper and Semmes, both family names that I’ve loved since I was a teenager. It was going to be perfect.
And then real life happened. My oldest son, who did get the name Cooper, was born with a genetic abnormality. He’s great, happy and full of personality, but he may never talk, or walk, eat by mouth, or be potty trained.
I had to mourn the loss of the idyllic family I had imagined and learn to embrace the life I was given.
I got pregnant again and had another son whose name is Semmes (Thank goodness that name can be a boy’s or a girl’s!), and I reveled in all the firsts I didn’t get to experience with Cooper: the first time to crawl, the first steps, the first words, and the first argument. And then, because life wasn’t crazy enough with two, we decided to have one last baby. I finally got my girl(!), but I was out of names. So we named her Katherine Cobb, the third woman in my family to have that name.
And I realized that in this baby, this precious little girl, I would experience the last of the firsts. This would be the last baby that would grow from a squishy infant to a confident toddler. She would have the last first steps and the last first day of school. As happy and wonderful as that is, it is also profoundly sad.
So I find myself purposefully trying to soak it all in. The baby coos, the late night milky smell of a warm baby tucked under my chin, the tiny clenched fingers and toes, the odd jerkiness of an infant’s movements. I find myself trying to memorize them since this is the last time I will get to experience these things with a child who is all mine.
I know that there are many firsts still ahead of me with all my children: the first day of high school, the first date, the first day of college, marriage, grandchildren, etc… But all of that seems impossibly far away. And for poor Katherine Cobb, the pressure will be on. I will try to soak-up all I can out of her firsts, for they will be my lasts.