As we speak, he is snuggled beneath his Ergo carrier, strapped to my chest, fast asleep. He's almost 3 months old, and still I haven't revealed his birth story. His birth announcements still scatter the table, addressed but un-mailed. His baby book is filled out to the point where I left the hospital, and it contains no pictures.
He is THE baby.
You know, the one that occupies most every family. The youngest. The one who gets forgotten, whose firsts don't always get documented. The one who wears hand-me downs, plays with used toys, isn't fussed over like a first baby. The one whose only pictures are part of a group of kids, or the entire family, if he has any pictures at all. The one who has three sleepers and a couple of 'going out' outfits compared to his older siblings who had an outfit and matching socks and accessories for every occasion, and were NEVER seen in their sleep-and-plays. He's the one who will be wild, won't be disciplined as sternly, will get to do things the big kids didn't get to do, and it will all be attributed to his poor, tired mother.
If you know THE baby well, though, you know he comes with another perspective. He's the one doted upon by his mama. He benefits from the years of parenting experience. His upbringing is more relaxed, and being the last, he is babied far longer than the first child who was expected to grow up and reach milestones faster than anyone else's child. Babying her would only hinder her progress.
Blake Shelton puts it pretty well...
"My brothers said that I was rotten to the core
I was the youngest child, so I got by with more
I guess she was tired by the time I came along
She'd laugh until she cried, I could do no wrong.
She would always save me, because I was her baby."
It's our song. I sing it when I rock him. I'll think of it every time he flashes his twinkly smile and gets away with something. I'll cry listening to it when he leaves home. We'll dance to it at his wedding to the woman who will never be good enough for him, but who I'll embrace with open arms because she makes him happy. I'll play it for his kids and tell them stories about his childhood.
He's my baby. My last. My only boy. He holds the keys to my heart.
He has a birth story, but it's not ten pages of details about morning sickness and contractions and hospital nurses. It goes like this:
My daddy wanted a boy, and my mommy didn't want to be an old mom, so they made me when my sister was a baby. The whole time she was pregnant, my mom worried she wouldn't have enough time or patience for me, she worried she wouldn't be attatched to me because I was a boy. Fifteen days before my due date, on my grandmother's birthday, the ONLY day my mama didn't want me to come, I came. When she saw me, she loved me, and she realized she wanted a boy more than anything she had ever wanted in her whole life. Even though she'd been through this three times, she was more in awe of my little miracle than she'd ever been. I'm her baby, and her only boy, and that means those sisters of mine don't stand a chance.