The Last Times


Leaf Angels

Parents are always marking their children’s “firsts”. The first time they roll over. The first word they speak. The first time they walk. The first time they have an explosive, diaper-overflowing bowel movement, when you’re at the mall, you don’t have any diapers, and you just used your last wipey. (True story.)

These are all memorable moments, make no mistake about it. But whenever my kids cross one of life’s milestones, I can’t help but think that it also signifies the end of something. My wife would say this is an example of my glass-half-empty personality. (In my opinion, there’s only two types of glasses: full and not full. Especially when it comes to wine.) 

But I think it’s more than that.

We’re always looking ahead to the next thing, whether it’s with our kids or in our lives. And although there’s nothing wrong with planning for the future and working towards a goal, I think we have to be careful not to miss what’s happening today, right now. Sometimes we’re so focused on when our kids have another “first” in their life, we fail to recognize that it also marks the last time for something else. 

As I go through this crazy adventure of parenthood, I wish I knew when a “last” was about to happen, just so I knew to pay attention. Because, looking back, there are so many things they used to do — some good, some not so much — that passed by without me even realizing it.

I wish I could remember…

  • The last time she crawled over to me.
  • The last time he sat in his high chair at dinner.
  • The last time I changed her diaper.
  • The last time he peed in my face.
  • The last time I laid her in her crib.
  • The last time I buckled him into his car seat.
  • The last time I listened for her breathing over the monitor.
  • The last time I played airplane with his broccoli.
  • The last time I panicked because we lost her binkie.
  • The last time I fed him a bottle.
  • The last time I caught her at the bottom of the slide.
  • The last time he scooched down the steps on his bum.
  • The last time she had a meltdown because her sock felt “weird”.
  • The last time I held him in just one arm.
  • The last time she played with that old “favorite” toy.
  • The last time he watched Sesame Street.
  • The last time she used my belly like a trampoline.
  • The last time he asked me to push him on the swings.
  • The last time I pushed them to the cafe in the stroller…

And so many others.

One day, not long from now, they’ll be graduating from high school and moving out of our home forever (well, hopefully). And when they do, it will mark the last of the “lasts”. So for now, I’m going to do my best to pay attention and hope that it’s still a long, long time before the last time I carry them upstairs to bed…the last time they ask me to take them to the park…the last time she wants to kick the ball around…the last time he wants to play a game…the last time they actually want to spend time with me. 

Because, you know, all these “lasts” aren’t going to last forever. ~


Copyright © 2015 Valentine J. Brkich

15 Responses to "The Last Times"
  1. Right you are. Time has a way of passing before our eyes without us knowing until we miss something. Cherish those memories.

  2. The best piece of parenting advice I received is to enjoy every stage and don’t wish any if it away. My “babies” are 15 and 12 and time flies. Thanks for writing this!

  3. In my experience, especially now as an official empty-nester, I have to disagree with you. Even after they move out, for as long as you are a parent, there are always more firsts and lasts. They just don’t happen to as cute as the last time her sock felt “weird!”

  4. What’s hard about our age-we have to face the thoughts of “lasts” of things with our kids and the thoughts of “lasts” of things with our parents, too-last mom cooked meal, last family vacation…etc. Well done though always appreciate and enjoy your writing!

  5. And this pregnant mom with a toddler at home just starter crying at work 🙂 Thanks Val- great article and definitely something I will be paying more attention to as well!!

  6. I’m not a mom yet, but I am someone’s child, and I can tell you my firsts and lasts certainly haven’t ended yet.

    They aren’t the same but there will be tons of firsts and lasts when they’re adults.

    Like the first call about what to do with the washer they just bought that is pouring water all over their floor.

    You never stop needing your parents.

    • Thanks for commenting, Jess. And I agree, the firsts and lasts last a lifetime. But there’s something extra special about their first lasts, if that makes sense?? ; )
      BTW…how’d you find my blog? Thanks again.

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