Today, I did the simplest thing.
I was scrounging my house for things to put in our garage sale and walked through my bathroom, looked at the tub, and thought, “I should get rid of the bath toys.”
Except for almost twenty-two years of my life, there has been some type of plastic paraphernalia kind of toy sitting next to the tub. We went through so many toys – boats and slides and rubber ducks. I learned a great deal – like the color on the tub wall stuff that should magically wash out doesn’t or that the dye in the bath is just as bad.
Over the last couple of years, the toys have been used less and less and less. I knew that. I wasn’t buying them for gifts anymore and threw them away without replacing them.
Honestly, without realizing it, I gradually was whittling them down until a small bucket with a boat and a pitcher and some plastic figurine guys remained sitting on the ledge.
When I realized even those things were no longer needed.
As I stood there I felt the tears well up in my eyes.
How did this happen? How did they grow so quickly?
But they did. My youngest is eight and my oldest almost twenty-two. And bath toys, sitting on the rim of my tub, have now, as of today, become a thing of my past.
No one warns you about those kind of last time moments, do they? They tell you about the babies turning into toddlers or the graduation tassels being flipped. But last bath toy moments? Or braiding a daughter’s hair? Or holding a hand crossing the street?
They just creep up.
I think I like not knowing the end dates of this stuff. I like the ambiguity of it — the tension in a moving timeline of life — where deep down we know that day will come but we don’t circle it with red on the calendar. And I really believe, for all of you moms with a tub full of bath toys that are half filled with water and you have to move them to take a shower and it’s frustrating, that you shouldn’t worry about the last times.
Instead, just be present.
I know that’s hard to think about. Especially in a world of first and lasts. But when we live with anxiousness about the lasts or missing out on moments we actually end out missing out on our todays.
Today is all you have. Don’t worry about making it perfect or that you didn’t do enough or you needed to do more. Just be. And if it’s a bad day, it just is. You know why? Because in all of those days – the good the bad the normal the boring the crazy the bath toy days – you are showing up and loving and giving and creating your story.
So breathe deep. Put the bath toys in the bucket and mother.
Life ticks by.
I love my bath toys moments and I love the moments yet to come.
And so should you.