When you raise a kid up and out of the house, a wave of who woulda’ thunk it washes over you. A moment when you think out loud, “Hey, I actually did figure out how to parent a kid from diapers to diplomas!” It’s a mind-blowing milestone because you swear you had no idea what you were doing through most of the journey. But now you begin to really see the fruit of your labor which calls for getting drunk on gratitude.
Crossing such a threshold comes with all the feels, tart and sugary. The heartache is realizing you have just experienced the last moments of many things. Our youngest of three will be graduating college in May, so we are in the throes of journeying through the last of the lasts. But, regardless of where any of us are on our mothering timeline, the key to handling the melancholoy of these transitions is basking in the knowledge that, God-willing, the inescapable lasts will eventually settle into sanguine firsts as we observe our kiddos begin a life of their own.
Each mother has a unique list of transitional moments with her children. For some of us, certain lasts never take place because the firsts didn’t happen to begin with. But, from my experience, here’s a short list of some of the inevitable lasts we endure as moms, followed by a promising hope-filled first:
For every last intimate nursing or bottle-fed experience, comes the wonder of your child nourishing herself
For every last first birthday, comes the opportunity to look forward to the second birthday and so on
For every last time you airplane food into your toddler’s mouth comes the tender appreciation of seeing him patiently use a spoon
For every last time you cut up grapes, comes the relief of a mouthful of teeth that know how to chew
For every last diaper change, comes the joy of watching your child beam with pride over using the potty like a big girl
For every last ride in a stroller, comes the mushiness of walking side-by-side, hand-in-hand
For every last time your heart swells because your child writes his letters backward and sideways, comes the heart melt of receiving a handwritten birthday card replete with big words expressing why he loves you
For every last time you tie a shoe, comes the pride of watching your child figure out how to use little hands to twist and turn floppy strings into a knot
For every last time you pack a lunch with a love note, comes the sentimental awareness that your child knew for years how special she was
For every last clap at a recital, comes the exhilaration of seeing your child accomplish a dream
For every last cheer at a sporting event, comes the gratitude for having ever been able to watch and encourage
For every last time your child asks for help with homework, comes the gratitude for his ability to figure problems out for himself
For every last time you drop your tween off, comes the first time she takes the wheel with confidence because you instilled a sense of self-worth and inner courage
For every last hug after your child receives a diploma, comes the hope-filled anticipation of his new life beginning
In the end, having a litany of lasts means we had a boatload of firsts. Therein lies the blessing. Twofold.
Embrace the lasts and feel the love, sweet Mommas!
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