The Last First-Kiss
By Celita Perillo
I am in mourning. Well, perhaps I should explain. I am not in mourning over a person, as much as I am in mourning over a season. You see, I am entering a new stage of motherhood that I have never been in before, and leaving behind one that has been challenging, rewarding, and so very full. It has seemed to be "my life" since... Forever. Well, for nearly eight and a half years, anyway.
I am a big one for keeping track of "firsts". You know, first smile, first food, first word, first step, first normal-looking dirty diaper... you get what I mean. This week, I was struck by how big my baby boy is getting. Yesterday he turned nine months old. You may be thinking, "Are you kidding me? But he is still little!" Okay, he IS littler than my other four children, but he is also much bigger than when he was just born; and he is growing more every day.
During the first week of his life with us, I determined that I would do my best to enjoy this brand new baby boy, probably our last child, and the milestones he would pass, as much as I possibly could along his journey through infant-hood into childhood. Nine months of his life have past, and, yesterday, as I pondered this, I was overwhelmed by this sad, lingering thought... One of the time-spans that I have treasured most was when each of my kids first started recognizing, looking for, and reaching excitedly and desperately for me. I was their whole world, and I mattered more than that fun toy or any other interesting person. Part of that time was when I would hold them in my arms and, more than searching for me with their arms, they searched for me with their little, open, chick-like mouths. Call it "teething", "sucking reflex", a desire for a toy to chew on... I have experimented, and many times, with arms tightly encircling my neck, their lips searched for and found my chin, resting just long enough to make their spittle and gums known to my skin, but not hard enough to say, "I need a teething toy!"
Time after time it happened, until somewhere along the way, I realized that these were my baby's expressions of love- they were little kisses! What joy, contentment, and melting-heart!
And now, somehow, sadness has crept in as I come to this acknowledgement: I have experienced my LAST first-kiss. From now on, these little eyes, mouths, and arms will reach for others, seemingly, more interesting and lovely. Someday, in the not-too-distant future, these little growing wonders of mine will fall in love, marry, and learn for themselves about the pleasures and joys of infant "lovin's", while I will not experience them again firsthand. Instead I will have to allow the memories to caress me into nostalgia, sweeping away the "tears that miss" with the hint of recollecting smiles.
How amazing! To have been the FIRST to hold their hearts, if even for a short while... I am mourning not because of what I have had, but rather because of what I will not have again.
(Excuse me as I wipe away some of those "tears that miss".)