There are so many moments in life that seem hard to wrap my head and heart around. And once I became a parent, there seemed to be a limitless amount always about me.
Plenty of these moments are seemingly expected. Like the first day your child goes to Kindergarten, or their first lost tooth, or their first time riding a bike. You know they are coming, though you never feel fully ready for the change or independence that comes with it. Then, there are somewhat expected lasts. Like the last day of preschool, last time your baby sits in a high chair or the last time your child needs you to walk them straight to their classroom door. All of these too, you know are around the corner but somehow still surprise you with their intensity when “that” day arrives.
But more than the above, it’s all the unexpected firsts and lasts that stop me in my tracks. Like the last time I could carry all our kids from the car, to their beds after a long trip because one or more of them became too heavy for me to lift! Or the first time I realized I couldn’t sign up our “baby” for a Mommy and Me class anymore because she was ready for a drop-off instead. There are plenty more. Like the last time I will get to see our seven-year old with missing front teeth, or hear that raspy Care Bear voice from our littlest one. Or, like the first time I realized that perhaps the more I give notice to all these firsts and lasts, how fast time seems to go!
During a camp out with the girls’ elementary school, our little one fell asleep in my arms. She slept for almost two hours just gently curled up, with her little hand resting on me. I was smitten and beamingly content. I hoped it wouldn’t be the last time this happens, but knowing how many lasts and firsts have occurred this past school year, I soaked it up. I just watched her little lips, noticed the detail of all her facial features and felt so much tenderness in her tiny little hands.
As I held her, full recall of the last time I saw my parents before I became a mom permeated my heart. The long held-hugs, the admiring of my nine-month full tummy and their expressions still fill up my memory so clearly. Now I get it. My parents were seeing me, as their daughter, with no children of her own for the last time. And they were seeing their daughter about to embark on many firsts and lasts with her own children. And that made them stop in their tracks and linger a bit longer.
I know these last few school days, as well as the beginning weeks of summer will hold many firsts and lasts for all of us. I know many of the emotions that come with these are not easy to navigate. Know in advance, I will be wearing dark glasses all week.
For many, you will be celebrating graduations, new schools upcoming, adventures and trips, family time and introspective time, new challenges to try and old hobbies to revisit. All of these hold their own firsts and lasts. Truthfully, all of life is stock full of these moments, isn’t it?!
So, instead of celebrating each first or even grieving each last, here’s to many moments fully absorbed by all of our truest heart-felt senses. Breath them in. Soak them up. These lasts and firsts are part of what make our heart-strings enduring. It’s the Yin and Yang of the purest parts of life.
Take the hard with the easy and find balance where ever and whenever you can. Take the gentle with the tough and do your best to maintain grace. Take the beautiful with the sad and chose to see light.
This weekend was the first time any of our children made me a jewelry piece while camping. A necklace with the symbols Yin and Yang. What a perfectly timed gift for all the firsts and lasts to come this week and I will wear it proudly for many firsts and lasts to come.