Sometimes the last times wash over my heart like a wave.
The last time feeling their little hand tucked in mine as we navigated across the parking lot. The last time looping loops and tying shoes. The last time reminding them of the letters of their name. The last time they walk into school next to me. The last time they can’t reach the cup on the top shelf.
The last time they have a bad dream and I’m the safe one. The last time they need me to dish up their dinner. The last time my son with celiac disease ate gluten.
The last time we were a family of seven living together.
The last time everyone was home for Christmas.
The last time I worried about preschool. The last time I read them a story before bed. The last time I pulled covers up to their noses. The last time I helped wash their hair. The last time driving them to the school dance.
Motherhood is a tapestry of last time, letting go, moments.
The last time they fit in just one arm. The last time the crawled. The last time they drove with me in the car too.
Trust me, I fought it, those moments, those waves, for so long. The thoughts of the last times consumed my mind, preoccupied me with worry, “what if I miss the last time?” I’d document and watch. And I’d worry about missing the last times and in the worrying I didn’t enjoy the present time. Those last times would still happen. Another last time. And another.
They don’t stay small, they don’t stay little.
They just don’t. My oldest is grown, gone, left the nest. And I’ve learned something about time.
They don’t need us lamenting the last times – because for them the last times are their first times.
The first time driving alone. The first time reading a book at night alone. The first time crossing the cross walk to school. The first time living alone. The first time getting that glass of water or making oatmeal. The first time tying shoes. The first time.
Without the last times there wouldn’t be the first times.
So I breathe deep. I listen. I’m aware.
And still when I hear, “can I lay with you, mom?” from my sweet little but close to getting big one I remember.
Soon it will be a last time.
So with eyes that tear up more and more as I feel the end coming closer to the shore, I pull my covers down and say, “yes, yes. I love you.”
Love the moments and the firsts and lasts and the minutes in-between.
The moments are life.
all this came from hearing my eight year old ask for water and then saying, “I can reach now!” and I realized the last time happened.