We remember the firsts. The first smile. The first tooth. The first word and step and day of school. We remember those days and write them in baby books and on calendars. We take pictures to capture those moments to treasure forever. We ask other parents about their child's firsts and compare stories. Firsts are important.
But what about lasts. I don't remember the last time Adam sat on my lap. Or the last time Josh asked me to snuggle with him before bed. I don't remember the last time I washed their hair or put on their socks. I don't even remember the last book I read to them. Or the last time we sang silly songs before bed. Those things just kind of stop happening. And at the time, it's a relief. Finally they can dress/feed/bathe themselves! But I wish I would have known. If I would have known that the last time Adam sat on my lap was going to be the last time, I wouldn't have been in such a hurry to do whatever it was that made me get up. If I would have known the last time I snuggled with Josh at bedtime was going to be the last time, I would have lingered just a little bit longer. I would have smelled their hair and hugged a little tighter and closed my eyes and stamped the memory into my mind. But I didn't know.
I have a few more chances with Julianna. I have had enough firsts and lasts by now to know that they happen all too quickly. She's almost five. She still sits on my lap. But sometimes I find myself thinking, "Really, girl? You are getting so big and it would be way more comfortable if you would just sit beside me." Then I remind myself that this might be the last time. And it's suddenly a lot more comfortable. She still wants bedtime rituals. And as tired as I am most nights, I still stay and pray and read or sing or snuggle or tell stories.
When will the last time come? Will I remember it? I still have a few lasts with the boys, too, and am watching for them. But not looking as forward to them as I did before. The last time Adam holds my hand as we walk through a parking lot? I don't want that one to come like it already has with Josh. The last time Josh asks me to make him hot chocolate? I'd be fine making him hot chocolate as long as I can lift the cup. The last time Julianna wants to follow me everywhere I go? I'm okay with even that lasting a while longer. Because I know that there will be a last time.
It's true that I look forward to the day when I can be by myself for five minutes without someone needing me. And it's true that I went to Arby's for lunch by myself on Saturday and it felt like a mini vacation. And it's also true that to some lasts I bid "good riddance" and never looked back (diapers, bottles, strollers...). But I hope that some lasts never come. And that there are some lasts that I know are inevitable but that I want to remember forever.
But for now I will look forward to the firsts and watch for the lasts. And when one of those lasts happen, maybe I will be able to catch it and hold on to it for just a little longer.
And if you enjoyed that post, check out this one from May of 2007. My astute friend Kathy* said she thinks I need some new ideas (after giving me copies of both posts with similarities highlighted). I think my ideas are so great that I have to write them twice. Whatever.
*She who can remember my blog posts from six years ago, but can't remember what she walked down the hall to ask me...or where she put her lemon bars.