I have heard a poem about "lasts". It is about how we focus on our kids' firsts, but often forget to notice the "lasts". I found it in its entirety, so here it is copied from Karen Kingsbury:
"Long ago you came to me, a miracle of firsts.
First smiles and teeth and baby steps, a sunbeam on the burst.
But one day you will move away and leave to me your past,
And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts.
The last time that I held a bottle to your baby lips...
Last time that I lifted you and held you on my hip...
Last time when you had a binky stuck inside your mouth...
The last time that you crawled across the floor of this old house.
Last time when you ran to me, still small enough to hold,
Last time when you said you'd marry me when you grew old.
Precious, simple moments and bright flashes from the past,
Would I have held you longer if I'd known they were the last?
Your last few hours of kindergarten, last days of first grade...
Last at bat in Little League, last colored paper made..
Last time that I tucked you in for one last midday nap...
Last time when you wore your beat-up Green Bay Packers cap.
Last time you caught a frog in that old backyard pond...
Last time when you ran barefoot across our fresh-cut lawn,
Silly scattered images to represent your past.
Would I have taken pictures...if I'd known they were the last?
The last dark night you slipped in bed and slept between us two,
When last I read to you of God or Horton Hears a Who!
Last time that I smelled your hair and prayed after your shower...
Last time that we held devotions in the evening hours.
The last time you were M.J. in our games of give-and-go...
Last time that you made an angel in the melting snow.
I never even said good-bye to yesterdays long passed.
Would I have marked the moments...if I'd known they were the last?
Last piano lesson, and last soccer goal you kicked...
The last few weeks of middle school, last flowers that you picked.
Last time that you needed me for rides from here to there...
The last time that you spent the night with that old tattered bear.
Last time that I helped you with a math or spelling test,
Last time when I shouted your room was a mess.
Time and life moved quicker, taking pieces of your past.
Would I have stretched the moments...if I'd known they were the last?
The last time that you needed help with details of a dance...
Last time that you asked me for advice about romance.
Last time that you talked to me about your hopes and dreams.
Last time that you wore a jersey for your high school team.
I watched you grow and never noticed seasons as they passed.
I wish I could've frozen time, to hold on to your lasts.
For come tomorrow morning life will never be the same.
You'll pledge forever to your girl, and she will take your name.
And I will watch you, knowing God has blessed you with this day.
I never would have wanted, Luke, to somehow make you stay.
They say a son's a son until he takes for him a wife.
You're grown-up now; it's time to go and start your brand new life.
One last hug, one last good-bye, one quick and hurried kiss...
One last time to understand just how much you'll be missed.
I'll watch you leave and think how quickly childhood sped past.
Would I have held on longer....if I'd known it was your last?"
Poem was quoted from the book, "Rejoice", by Karen Kingsbury. Pages 209-210.
As I thought about this poem, I decided to try to notice the "lasts".
And last night I was heading home with my 6-year-old who fell asleep in the back seat and I started thinking...I am so happy that I haven't yet had the "last" of carrying my kids in from the car when they are sleeping (or pretending to sleep).
I can still carry both of them into the house (although it is getting more challenging, especially with my 11-year-old). How long will I be able to do this? I don't know, but I will enjoy this period of time while I still can.
I will not grumble about how heavy they are, or that they really could walk in the house by themselves. I will continue to carry them in as long as I possibly can.
Why is this an important gesture for me?
Because I still remember when my mom and dad carried me in from the car when I was sleeping (or pretending to sleep) and it was one of my favorite things.
It is one of my favorite memories of my childhood still.
Not a big thing by any means, but a significant one in my life. It demonstrated their love for me I guess, and a feeling of protection and complete safety.
I want to give this to my kids for as long as I possibly can.
So, this isn't a "last" yet...and I am so thankful.