When my kids were born, I made a rule that everyone in my family knows: If you experience a first, don’t you dare tell me. Act like it never happened and enjoy it alone. The reasoning behind it is that I always wanted to be there for the firsts: the first steps, the first word, the first crawl, the first everything. It is something that has been so important to me. I always want my girls to know that I’ll be here to experience all these things with them. That I was there every step of the way.
We have now been through all these things twice. Abs is now 17 months old and Adeline just turned four. Superman and I both got to be there for each of their first steps, first smiles, first laughs. I got to see their first crawls and Adeline’s first day of preschool. I can honestly say that as hard as it has been, it has been worth it. These things were so sweet, but as time went on and it became commonplace for them to walk and talk, it became more bittersweet. I was prepared for these firsts. I know at exactly what age and stage they were supposed to occur.
But no one prepared me for the realization of the lasts.
It honestly just hit me 5 days ago. It was Adeline’s birthday and I was taking her somewhere special while her daddy worked. I had just finished getting Abs ready and dressed. I plopped her on the couch next to Adeline, who was putting on her socks and shoes at glacial pace. I grabbed her first sock and started to put it on her feet to speed things along when I thought Soon she won’t need help putting on her socks and shoes. And I almost died a little on the inside. Suddenly, it wasn’t about getting out the door anymore. It was about savoring the moment. So I stared at those toes. Those dirty toes. The mismatched Doc McStuffins socks. And after I slipped her feet into them, I picked up the new pink cowgirl boots her Daddy had just surprised her with and I couldn’t help but be sad at how fast this precious child is growing up. How many times had I experienced a last and not realized it?
Did I even realize I was changing her diaper for the last time? That I was feeding her her last spoonful of baby food before she moved on to big girl bites? Did I take the time to think about the very last time I nursed her to sleep? And how will I ever recognize the lasts from here on out? When will I kiss the last booboo? When is the last time she will need me to tie her shoe? Or put her hair in a ponytail? Or pray away the monsters?
My baby is FOUR YEARS OLD. She’s four. And even though I’ve been here for EVERYTHING, I feel like I’ve missed so much.
Mamas, it can be so hard in the chaos and the mundane to stop and savor moments when we are walking around like a mombie trying to wash the laundry and get out the door on time. But we have to. We have to look at those dirty little toes and those runny little noses and wonder when the last time is they will need us to clean them or wipe them. Looking at it this way is making me so sad, but it is also making me realize that nothing else really matters.
The days are long, but the years are short, ladies.
Enjoy the lasts.
Love to my loves,