Friday, April 15, 2016

Celebrating Lasts

I am thinking of all you mothers out there with a child about to graduate from high school. This year, I am one of you. This year, our youngest child will get her diploma and leave the nest. This is a first for her dad and me. After 35 years of parenting, our nest will be empty. For two thirds of my life I have had children in my house, in my bed, in my lap. This will be a first and I will admit to you, I am struggling. Yes, I love my husband. Yes, I know that it is wonderful... to have adult children who come to visit. Yes, I am proud of my child and know that her leaving is right and good. But if you remind me of those things, I swear I will poke you in the eye because in this moment, my heart can't hear what you are saying. So this is a post for all you moms out there who are wallowing just a bit in sentimentality, wondering where the years have gone and what next fall will feel like: I understand. You are not alone. While there is surely much joy ahead, there's nothing wrong with you if you take a moment to mourn what's past and savor the heck out of today.

Karen Kingsbury wrote a picture book called, "Let Me Hold You Longer." She contends that everyone celebrates all the "firsts" in life--first tooth, first steps, first words, while the "lasts" go unnoticed--largely because no one realizes they are the last. Here is an excerpt from her book. If you want to read it in it's entirety and see the lovely illustrations, I know they have copies for sale on Amazon:

"Long ago you came to me, a miracle of firsts
First smiles and teeth and baby steps, a sunbeam on the burst.
But one day you will move away and leave to me your past,
And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts.

The last time that I held a bottle to your baby lips...
Last time that I lifted you and held you on my hip...
Last time when you had a binky stuck inside your mouth...
The last time that you crawled across the floor of this old house.

Last time when you ran to me, still small enough to hold,
Last time when you said you'd marry me when you grew old.
Precious, simple moments and bright flashes from the past,
Would I have held you longer if I'd known they were the last?"