Monday, July 15, 2013

Firsts and Lasts

We all know the thrill of watching a baby do something for the first time.
I remember as clear as day the first time my niece, Alyssa, said my name for the first time.
She could not say it very clearly, so for about the next 7 years I was know throughout the whole family (and even a few friends) as "RaRa".
Then I had my own babies.
As a young mother I waited patiently for Doodle to do something, ANYTHING besides just stare and sleep all day long.
The first time she grasped a toy and waved it all around, practically bruising her poor forehead, I could not have been more thrilled. 
I took a million pictures, called Mr Bird at work, ecstatic to finally have something to brag about, and played with her for what seemed like hours.
Really, it was probably 20 minutes, then she went right back to sleep. 
I could not stop smiling from ear to ear. 
It felt better than putting a man on the moon.
I remember her first bath right after I brought her home from the hospital.
I could not believe how slippery she was, I was so worried I'd drop her.
Then came the first smile, the first time she rolled over, the first time she slept through the night, the first froward crawling motion, the first cold bug and so on and so forth.
As the first child, I worked with her everyday developing new skills.
Just 8 1/2 months after she was born she took her first steps.
Oh, the party we had, we were so excited.
And with each new baby came new firsts.
All just as thrilling as the last.
The looks of adoration, the chorus of, "awwwww" in unison when baby is suddenly cuter than ever before.
Then something strange happens.
Before you know it the last baby is not a baby anymore.
All the baby "firsts" are done.
Now I am noticing the lasts.
The lasts seem to slip by unnoticed and uncelebrated.
A dear friend of mine has a little boy just a few months older than Little Man.
Those two are best buds, always begging for play dates.
One Sunday afternoon as we were leaving our church services, I past this sweet friend still sitting on a pew with her 5 year old son fast asleep on her lap.
I mentioned something about her cute sleeping boy, which was met with a look I will never forget.
You see, this man child is her youngest of 6 children.
For over 20 years this amazing mother has wrangled children through church meetings.
She vocalized her realization that she just did not know how many more times she would be able to experience that precious occasion of holding her sleeping boy.
That thought caught a hold of my thoughts and has not let go.
How many lasts have already slipped by without notice? 
My children used to sleep on my lap during the longest of church services, but none of them have done so in quite a while.
Sadly, I don't even remember the last time it happened.
What other lasts have slipped away?
My older kids are always changing and developing and on to some new adventure.
It is the thrill of my life to watch how they change and grow.
I just really don't want to miss even one moment.
But I am starting to forget the little things.
How Beano used to pronounce helicopter.
How Doodle would run on her hands and feet and rear up and neigh, just like a real horse.
How Dubs truly believed in fairies.
How Miss Mae would fall asleep in my arms in 30 seconds flat.
How they all called Little Man "Zebee" (it was their way of saying baby with wrong pronunciation) when he was a baby.
Those things have all stopped, but when?
Was I not paying close enough attention?
When was the last time Doodle impersonated a horse, I honestly can't remember.
Horsie sounds have been replaced by beautiful harp and piano music.
Each day they slip further from babyhood and childhood and ever closer to puberty, then adulthood, then comes college and moving boxes.
 I am powerless to stop it.
But deeply honored and thrilled to be a part of it.

1 comment:

Karen M. Peterson said...

This is such a beautiful post, Sara. Life moves and changes so fast that we rarely have the chance to know it's a last until it's over.