Carter pulled his first tooth today. *Sigh*. When Tucker and Sawyer did this, I was so darn thrilled. It IS exciting, don't get me wrong. It's just different with your last child. He was brave. Didn't even flinch when it was pulled. Me, however.....I had a lump in my throat the size of Texas. The whole time I was choking back the tears thinking, "This is silly! It's just a tooth." But now that I have lovingly tucked him away into his bed for the night, I have had time to think about the events of the last few days with Carter. Thinking late at night does not do well for my emotions. I honestly am not an emotional person, but those kids of mine sure can tug at my heart. I think the issue is that I love having children so much, that I can see that their childhood is too temporary. I can't stand the thoughts of it ending. So, as I sit here late at night....not being emotional.....I think back over Carter's last few days.
Earlier in the week, Carter tossed his beloved blanket to the side of his bed and said, almost with disgust, "I don't want that anymore." This blanket has been a favorite of his, just as Sawyer had his VERY special blanket and Tucker had his pillow. Each child at some point became ready to put the special item away....never to be thought of again. This week, Carter was ready. It laid untouched on his bed, pushed into the corner for 4 days. I thought he would pull it back out, but he didn't. On the 5th day, he said, "I don't want this! When can I put it up in the box of special things?". I told him that he could put it up whenever he got ready. He grabbed the blanket and skipped to my bedroom, placing his blankie inside. It hasn't been mentioned by him since.
Yesterday, I was standing in the kitchen and Carter grabbed me around the legs and gave me a squeeze. I asked, "Are you needing some loving?" He said, "Yep!" and jumped up into my arms and wrapped his legs around me. He laid his head on my shoulder and I rubbed him on the back. I smelled his little boy smell and squeezed him even tighter. I asked him, "How many more years will you be jumping up into my arms like this?" Carter said, "In 6th grade, I will be too tall." I asked, "Well, then what about in 5th grade?" He said, "Too big." I said, "4th grade?" Carter said, "Nope. I will be too big for you in 3rd and 4th.". Then, hanging on to hope, I asked, "Ok, then what about in 2nd grade? Will you jump into my arms then?" Carter said, "Maybe I still will in 2nd.". So, with a smile, I gave him another squeeze and he scurried off to play. I have only couple of years left of those moments, then those too will pass. He will be "too big, too tall, or too cool" to jump into my arms.
And then we get to today. The tooth. Maybe it was just the icing on the cake, but it was almost too much to bear. It was the last time one of my boys will pull their first tooth. Sure, there will be other teeth to pull, but none are quite like the first. Many of the firsts at our house are over.
A favorite book of mine definitely comes to mind tonight as I sit here writing this blog not being emotional . I stumbled across this book years ago and it has really changed the way I look at things with the boys growing up. The book is called Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury. Part of the note from the author in the front of the book says this:
"We spend our children's days celebrating the firsts. First step. First tooth. First words. First day of kindergarten, first homecoming dance, first time behind the wheel. But somehow, along the way, we miss their lasts. There are no photographs or parties when a child takes his last nap or catches tadpoles for the last time. For the most part, it's impossible to know when a last moment actually occurs. Nothing signals a mother to stop and notice the last time her little boy runs and jumps into her arms. If I'd known it was the last time, Would I have held on longer?"
As Carter climbed into his bed tonight, he was toothless and without his blankie. I couldn't help but to kiss him and hug him and hold on a little longer than usual.