When Claire was born Dave made an announcement:

We were done bringing children into the world.

End of story.

Yes, well, he had said that with Elle and Grace too, but this time he sounded really final. Really serious. He was done.

The problem was that right at that moment I was in my newborn rapture stage. You see, when I have a newborn I sink into this baby bliss where no matter how hard I try I cannot soak in that baby enough. The expressions. The curled up body. The breathing. The crying. I love it all. (Dave can vouch for me on that. I go a little crazy….hmmm…maybe that’s why he was done.) Right when I have a newborn is when I.W.A.N. hits the most, except at that time it’s an acronym for “I Want Another Newborn.”

Not that the newborn I am holding isn’t enough…quite the contrary. That newborn fills my heart to the very brim. But the thought of my little newborn Claire being the last newborn made me feel like I just got kicked in the stomach. We had to have another one. I had to feel that kicking inside again. I had to have one pregnancy where I knew it was the last. I had to have that closure. I mean, she was number four for crying out loud. And didn’t we agree to seven before we got married??

So after a couple years of really trying to be “done” for Dave’s sake, realizing I just couldn’t do it, and getting on my knees and begging for two whole years, Dave and I made a pact:

If we had one more baby I would really be done. That didn’t mean I wouldn’t yearn for another one. I would just feel at peace. I promised. And I knew it was right.

So along came Lu.

And when she was born, even though I was prepared, I went through a tough adjustment. Yes, I knew she was my last, and really and truly, I felt at peace. Five was the new seven for me and it felt right. Dave and I, together, felt that our family was complete.

But I held her a little longer than my others. I loved getting up with her when she woke up at night. I watched in awe as my children drank her in with me. There’s nothing like having a newborn in your home.

I was really protective of my time with her. I became a little bit anti-social. I just wanted to soak in this baby with all my might.

And I did.

So, fast forward a few years. Because she’s my last I envisioned I’d be able to hold onto her for so long. I’d draw out when she’d have to go to school as long as I could. She would be my little partner for so long and we’d go everywhere together.

So, although it’s exactly what we prayed for, it seems like there’s something wrong with the fact that she started school today.

With sisters who are a little too excited for her:And a whole group of friends following her around before school started. Man, she is loved.
Little did I know that when I planned on clinging on to her for dear life at the end of my baby career, that she’d need more than just me. I hadn’t factored into my plan that she would have a syndrome that would be helped immensely by me letting go a little bit, a littler earlier than I was ready.

Although I’m so happy for her because she’s going to get so much help there, there’s something that seems just plain wrong with with sending a girl to “school” who still sleeps in a crib and who needs to pack along some diapers in her backpack.

But I must keep in mind that it’s only for two-and-a-half hours.

I’m excited to have my new plan of getting all my busywork done in those hours so I can really be with my kids at the end of the day. And, surprisingly, I’m ok with the house being quiet as a tomb today as I get some things done.

But it makes me sad that it’s the end of an era. I mourn the end of the babyhood in our family. I wish it didn’t have to go quite so quick!

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  1. Ok seriously. Could she be any cuter with that backpack on surrounded by all those kids like a little social butterfly? I get you on the whole last baby thing. I couldn't wait for my two oldest to get independent. Now my baby just started walking and I am so incredibly sad that she is getting big…*sigh*

  2. It is so weird to think she will be at school everyday! It will be great for her and great for you to have that time. I have a really hard time with my kids growing up. It makes me really sad to think that we will not have a little one running around the house ever again. I have noticed that I try really hard to make the time I have with my kids more meaningful since they are gone all day. Lucy is such a doll! She will do great and I bet you will transition in to this new stage of life and actually enjoy it:)

  3. oh man, am I in the IWAN stage. My Dave still needs a little convincing, but my baby isn't a baby anymore and I need a baby in my house… He's not saying we're done, he's just saying, "let's find out where we are going to be in a year before we add that crazy sickness and sleeplessness into our mix." plus our house is way too small for us as it is. it'll come soon enough I guess.

  4. I am tearing up as I type this. I too love everything about babie-hood. Sleepless nights, feedings, craziness, I just love it. I would have loved to do it again and again.
    I also just recently came to the conclusion that we are done with growing our family. I have 2 great girls and a wonderful hubby. But I have lost 4 babies. With one, I was 5 1/2 months pregnant. So as I read your post, it reminds me that I too am done. Not because I want to be but because I think its best.
    Today I am adjusting. My little one is at school for a FULL day. I miss her. She'll be fine. I'll be fine. But I miss her. We have that same dress Lu has on. Its so cute and comfy.
    Hope your morning was great.

  5. I am the same way with my baby. It is her last year of preschool and I am mourning that our time is coming to a close but super excited about the adventure ahead. What an exciting time for her!

  6. What a big day! Shawni, she is too cute for words. It is hard to let go, especially that last one. I am so glad she got into the preschool. What a blessing!

  7. So bitter sweet. Just another LDS mom here who enjoys your blog. I found you through your wonderful new book.

    Sometime you've gotta share where you get all your and your girls' cute jewelry. Love the "L" pendant she is wearing. So sweet.

  8. Come on over in 7 & a half months.

    I hate it that my kids are growing up so fast, but that's why I love photography, so I can maybe relive it over & over. We'll see.

    And you're doing such a great job of documenting Lu!

  9. so did you feel that it was right to be done because it was going to keep peace in your marriage or because you had a confirming experience/feeling that it was right? i'm always looking for insight on this subject.

  10. I guess I shouldn't have read the comments first before making mine…….I got to your friend, Katy's comments and just about died laughing! What a hoot she is!
    Now I forgot what I was going to say…..

    Oh, yes…….I have been reading your blog for awhile now…..hope you don't mind……but this was the first post that really compelled me to comment……I really and truly could relate!!!! What a beautiful way of putting it.

    Your children are all SO adorable! And so are you! : D

    (Mom of 6, who didn't ever think she would even want 1, until she had one. ; D )

  11. I'm a closet reader who LOVES your stories and pictures. And this post was so tender…it made me tear-up. With three boys and a husband who says "we're done", I can feel your pain. IWAN is very real!! Your little Lucy is such a doll and I sure know it's hard letting go. Thanks for your blog!

  12. Love reading your blog and hearing about your sweet family. I bet Lucy loves school. They are so social at this age. As soon as Eliza sees someone who she knows they are her friend and she goes crazy. Miss you guys

  13. So well put. I have newborn lust too and it's really the only thing that can send me into feelings of envy. I don't think I will ever get over it, even when I'm 82.
    Lucy is just SO cute. Her little hand around that stuffed animal is the most precious thing ever…she still has baby hands…all chubby and soft.

  14. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. You are talented and inspiring in so many ways and it brightens my day to read your thoughts about life and family. I am expecting number 6 and wondering if this is it. It is hard to think of being done with a season of your life. This post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your feelings with us.

  15. I SO get it Shawni. I'm still just hoping for "one more" baby. 🙂 I don't know what I'll do when mine goes to school. You're a great Mommy with so much love to share. What lucky kids you have! –Darcy

  16. I SO needed this today.

    I am right smack in the middle of baby faze and today has been hard. I watch all my sisters go to lunch while their kids are off to school, they run errands, and catch up with house work all while listening to the music THEY want (no Baby Einstein in the background)! 🙂 Sometimes I LONG for that stage of my life to come faster, but I know it will come too fast and I know I need to soak up this baby faze while I can. Im just not as good at it as you are.

    Thanks for reminding me.

  17. At the beginning of your post, I felt like I was reading my life. I thought we'd have 7 children, too. My husband (I thought) agreed. When our 3rd was 2, I was ready for another, when he thought we were done–WHAT??? No, no, you didn't tell me before we had #3 that she was our last. I was angry for a while, but then it softened. I knew in my heart it wasn't my last, but if I could be patient enough, he would come around. He did, and #4 is 5 months old. I am in the process of soaking it all in, because I have a peace that this is our last (barring divine intervention). My heart breaks for you to let go a little, but delights that you will get your "stuff" done and devote the soaking in time with the rest of your day. I enjoy all you share on your blog, and don't feel like you need to comment b/c after all–you don't know me:)

  18. I can see why it would be hard to have a "last baby" in your family – your kids are gorgeous and the last one is certainly no exception.
    I enjoy your blog – thanks for sharing.

  19. Everything about this post is adorable.

    And I totally, 110% get your newborn infatuation. I was EXACTLY like that. I still to this day do not undertand when people say that they hate the newborn stage. I think babies should stay newborn for at least six months. That first six weeks flies by WAY too fast!

  20. I just finished reading "A mother's book of secret's" and had to jump on here and tell you thanks. What a great book! So many inspiring insights and ideas. My parents have many of your parents books. Yes, I even had the gunny bag eat my toys a few times during those growing up years. 🙂 I now have my own gunny bag! I just wanted to stop by and tell you thanks for such a great book!

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