Gracie came to me this morning carrying two hair binders and asked if I’d braid her hair. As she sat in front of me — with her bright orange tee shirt and equally bright lime green capris — I began to wonder about those last times.
As my fingers grabbed strand after strand of her long hair I could feel the bitersweet nostalgia that parenting brings along with it. I looked at Hannah — typing away in the kitchen — and wondered about the last times I had with her. That I probably didn’t even remember.
I kept braiding. Over and under and over and under and over and in that repetitive pattern I began to realize that life is full of these last time moments. They’re everywhere. The last time we go to that store or drive that road or live in this home or go to that church or finish third grade or have a high chair in the kitchen or my baby will eat gluten or have toddlers in the home or have little toy trains to clean up or be able to give that person a hug.
On one hand I’m thankful that I don’t know all the time that this is the last time for that event. I don’t think my heart could constantly deal with knowing it was the last. And yet, I wonder about those moments — if I knew that it was really ending. That time was changing. That my kids were growing. That it was the last time.
I want to live each day awake. Aware that at any moment it could be the last time.
When Samuel brings me that baby board book with the lift-the-flap puppy picture and wants to sit on my lap and read it for the 15th time today I want to say yes. To simply enjoy him. Patting my arm. Hearing him telling me – puppy. Nestling into me.
Someday, it will be the last time.
And I want to remember.