After 24 years of mothering, today marks a monumental last for me with the final “first day of school” coming to pass as our daughter begins her senior year in college. Not that I’m counting, but this is #58 when you combine pre-school, k-12, and college for all three kids. These pics are from our celebration as a family.
And so it goes, over two decades filled with school stuff now coming and going, going, soon to be gone. But alas, my heart is full of joy, not sorrow. Which will make many of my BFF's roll their eyeballs and scoff, “Yeah right. You’re bawling like the baby you are.” Really guys, I’m not!
The reason I’m minus the melancholy is that I’ve come to understand that for every inevitable last, there comes a hope-filled first. Our last kid finishing up a lifetime of school is one of those beautiful moments. Not just the money perk either when we can finally say, “and so it went, and now it shall return.”
The last first day of school is the first day towards a life of complete independence for your child. The moment 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.
Now you begin to really see the fruit of your labor which calls for getting drunk on gratitude Thank you, Jesus. Also, thank you for turning my water into wine tonight because miracles never cease.
Mommas, regardless of where any of us are on our mothering timeline, the key is basking in the knowledge that, God-willing, the inescapable lasts will eventually settle into sanguine firsts. Of course, we all have many and varied journeys in which certain lasts never became firsts to begin with. Each mother has a unique list of transitional moments. But, from my experience, here’s a short list of destined progressions full of promise for us to press deep into our mom heart:
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 and have a boatload of firsts. Therein lies the blessing. Twofold.
Embrace the lasts and feel the love, sweet Mommas!