Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Last Time

Tonight I had a quick chat on the phone with my mom, but we had to hang up kind of quickly.  My children had already started to unravel the Christmas lights, and I could see we were going to end up with a tangled mess if I didn't intervene and get going with our tree decorations.

While I was fiddling with the long strands and trying to plug them into the socket by our tree, Grace said, "Mom, remember that article you wrote about 'The Last Time'? Whenever you say goodbye to your mom on the phone, you should make sure you tell her you really love her.  And you should say, 'mmmmwah, muah, muah, muah' (like you're blowing her kisses).  Because you just never know if this is going to be the last time you get to say goodbye."

I didn't think Grace even remembered that article.  I wrote it four years ago when she was six.  We don't even have it on Power of Moms anymore because it was on the old site and hasn't been transferred to our new one.

But my friend Sarah re-posted it on her blog when I first wrote it, and I went and found it tonight.  And of course, as I read it, I realized that all those beautiful things I treasured back then are now simply memories of the past.  

That's okay, though, because we're making new ones right now.

Thought I'd post that article here tonight: 
 
 
The Last Time
 
“You know you’re a real mom when you have peas in your purse.” I said to my friend Sarah last week as she opened the container of strained peas she’d brought to a dinner party to feed her baby. We laughed for a second, but then she said something that has stayed with me all week. “I’ve been thinking lately about all the little things that moms do,” she said, “and I wonder when it will be the ‘last time.’”

I must have looked confused because she clarified: “There’s a last time for everything. For example, when was the last time you played Barbies?” Well, I can’t remember the very last time I played Barbies. It’s not like I sat down and said, “This is the final time I am going to let you kiss Ken.” It just kind of happened, and then I moved on to something else. Sarah’s point was that there will come a day when she’ll put peas in her purse for the very last time, and she won’t even know it’s the last.

For the past several days, I’ve been racking my brain trying to remember when the last time was that I did handstands in the hallway of my parents’ house. When was the last time I tap-danced in the kitchen or sat on my mom’s bed and told her all my problems. Can you remember the last time your dad took you on a walk or the last time your mom did your hair or the very last time you asked to borrow the car? Probably not, right?

Then I started thinking about my own children. I know there was a “last time” I put water wings on my oldest daughter, Alia, a last time that Grace asked for a note in her kindergarten lunch, a final time my son wanted me to watch Baby Einstein with him, but I didn’t even realize it at the time.

Now I look at what my children are doing, and I wonder if today is the last time for something we’re experiencing together. I won’t mind if today is the last time I have to sing the “Kindness” song when the children are bickering. I would love it if tonight were the last night my one-year-old woke up at 3:30, and I would be thrilled if today were the last time I had to beg the children not to take a dead grasshopper to school (because one child is screaming to keep it OUT of the car, and the others are fighting over who gets to hold it).

However, there are other things I don’t want to end. What if today were the last time my baby made “that face” we all think is hilarious. How would I feel if after today my son didn’t need me to help him shampoo his hair anymore? Today might be the last time Hotwheels are in my bathroom sink, the last time I have to pick up bath toys before I take a shower, the last time I’m awakened by a seven-year-old girl with big blue eyes.

And now that I think even more about it, I realize that for all the new advancements that happen each day in our home (learning to spell, walk, play the piano…), we’re leaving an equal number of things behind. That’s just how it’s meant to be.

I’ve decided I’m going to savor every hug, every phone call with my mom, every chance to volunteer in the classroom, every sweet question, every scowl, and every runny nose. Because even though I feel like the challenges of motherhood will never end, these precious moments just might be here for the very last time.

7 comments:

  1. LOVE this! Made me laugh and cry at the same time. My last (and 5th) baby is 6 months old. My oldest will be twelve in a few weeks. I know how quickly it all goes. And while I am looking forward to less sleepless nights, I am not looking forward to my last's with my last. Thanks for helping me to remember to savor this time, even with the sleepless nights. :)

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  2. I have had a lot of last times in the last couple of years. Wow, the time is going fast. I have definitely slowed down and tried to cherish some of those moments. Today, I was so happy to feel the warm sunshine after a rainy morning. And it was fabulous to hold my 6 year old's hand on the way to the 11 year old's choir concert. Someday she won't want to hold my hand so easily. These moments are precious. Right now, I am talking to my senior in high school while she helps her friend's with their college application essays. Next year at this time, she will be in college. Bittersweet moments. Thanks for capturing the feelings of motherhood and relationships so well.....Keep up the great work.

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  3. Beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes.

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  4. so beautiful, thanks for sharing!

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  5. YASOO !
    Sure made me think and remember and recall. Thanks, Suzanne ! Love,

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  6. Julia, I would love to see these experiences of yours recorded on your blog. You are an incredible deliberate mother. :)

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  7. Life is much less physically demanding now that our youngest is five, but I miss my babies! So glad to know you're savoring the good parts. That's the only thing that makes all this growing up easier. :)

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