I remember the firsts. The first smile. The first word. The first tooth. The first step. The first day of school. The first time riding a two wheeler. Those are what you are supposed to remember. And it's easy to know when the firsts happen because they've never happened before. But what about the lasts. Will I know when it's the last time they sit on my lap? Or the last time I read them a book? Will I remember the last time they ask for a song at bedtime or for me to lay with them until they fall asleep? Will I wake up and realize the last time one of them crawls in bed with us because he had a bad dream?
Last week I think I had a last.
Until now Josh has taken a bath. Sometimes with his brother and sometimes alone. I fully admit that bathtime is my least favorite time because for some reason it makes my children unable to hear me and they tend to ignore all requests to keep the water in the tub or pull the plug when it's time to get out. (Maybe they have water in their ears!) But last week Josh wanted to take a shower, so I showed him how to get the right water temperature and where to find everything he needed and off he went. When he was finished he dried and dressed and came out ready for bed. He was so proud of himself and he kept asking me if I was proud of him, too. Of course I was. My children taking another step toward independence does make me proud. And honestly, I thought it was a fluke; that he would return to the tub splashing and playing as always. But the last three bath nights he has wanted to take a shower and has gone through the whole process himself. At first I thought, "Ahh, one more thing that I don't have to do for him." But now I wonder.
If I would have known that the last time I helped Josh take a bath was the last time, I would have lingered a little longer over the shampoo. I wouldn't have complained about the splashing. I would have let him play for five more minutes when he asked. But I didn't know. I didn't know that it was the last time that my little boy would sit in the tub and look up at me with bubbles on his chin.
Now, more than ever, I will watch for the lasts. Because they seem to be happening more and more often and I don't want to miss even one.