Lasts | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Monday, August 09, 2010

Lasts

When Bria took her very first steps, it was in our tiny living room on 9th East in Provo and she was ten months old.  I remember that it was late summer, Joel was across the street at Gold's Gym and my brother was visiting from Seattle.  He and my parents were at our apartment playing with the baby and she took two steps in an effort to get from the couch to her beloved toy piano.  Joel walked in the door not two minutes later and was so disappointed he'd missed the great event, but she duplicated it for him pretty quickly.

Chloe took her first steps when she was 13 months old in Arizona.  We lived on an old military base that served as student housing and she was a little afraid of walking, although she thought she was pretty amazing to stand by herself.  We finally got her a little push toy, and she pushed that thing all over the house for weeks before she realized she was actually walking.  When she finally walked without the toy, she could already walk all the way across the room without falling.

Sophia's first steps were taken from the doorway to our bedroom in Cedar City.  She was ten months old and was the type of baby who couldn't wait to walk.  She pulled up to the door frame and took three triumphant steps before falling and was so proud of herself that she nearly split her face in half with her grin.  Then she immediately got up and did it again.  And again. And again.  Which is why we have her almost first steps on video.

I remember lots of other firsts about my children with extreme clarity.  The first time they each rolled over.  Their first words.  The first time I fed them solids.   Their first days of preschool and Kindergarten.  The first night they slept in a "big" bed.  Their first lost teeth.  Lots of wonderful little milestones that we wait for as parents.  We wait for them and then we cheer our children on and file the moment away in our memories.

But what about lasts?  As Bria inches further and further away from being a little child (she'll be TEN in just a couple of months), I start to realize that I don't remember the last time I ever carried her to bed because she had fallen asleep elsewhere.  I haven't been able to lift her for some time now and the fact that I don't remember the last time I did makes me a little sad. I don't remember the last time she needed (or wanted) my help washing her hair.  I don't remember the last time she made a cute mistake in a grammar construct.  I don't remember the last time she needed help sounding out a word. I don't even remember the last time she came to me to kiss an owie all better.  She's much too old for that now, and the last time I did kiss an owie for her, I didn't know it was something I should file away in my memory bank because I would probably never do it again.  

Chloe and Sophia haven't quite made it that far.  I can still carry them upstairs when they're sleeping.  I still help them bathe.  They still say grammatically funny things and need help reading.  And they still need me to kiss them better when they've hurt themselves.  But they've had lasts, too.  Lasts I don't really remember.  

I don't like lasts.

It means my children are growing up, and while that's a good thing, I've always had a hard time with each birthday.  Maybe it's a little bit of mother guilt--wondering if I cherished them enough, taught them enough, kissed them enough, loved them enough.  And maybe it's just because I love them so much that I want to hold on to every moment.  I don't know.

What I do know is that I want to be able to notice the last time I carry Chloe upstairs or give Sophia a bath.  But I also know that I probably won't.  I'll carry Chloe to bed one night and the next night I won't.  And then she'll have grown too big for me to lift.  I'll wash Sophia's hair one day, and then she'll want to do it herself and she'll do a good job.  And then, pretty soon, she won't even let me in the bathroom anymore.

And then they'll be all grown up.

All grown up with new milestones for me to watch for.  New firsts to categorize in the list I keep in my memory.  And I will be happy for them.

But I will always miss the lasts.

20 comments :

  1. Awh, i like this blog.
    Maybe this will be the last time I comment.
    Maybe. ;)

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  2. This was beautiful and poignant. I regret that I don't remember the last time I nursed my middle daughter. We nursed for the longest time- 2 1/2 years- but it must have happened like you described it. One day she nursed and the next day she didn't.

    Thanks for the reminder to cherish the little things, even when they seem like they may be annoyances.

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  3. This post really resonated with me... I was folding laundry tonight, thinking about what I was going to do with Henry's clothes after he grows out of them. Then I started thinking about all the baby clothes that are in storage bins upstairs, cataloging the people who could probably use them. Then it sort of hit me... this whole done having babies thing. I thought about folding onesies for the last time... using the bassinet for the last time... those "lasts" are a little bit more concrete, but it's all apart of life with little people turning into life with big people. Sometimes I long for that, and then other times I'm so desperate to hold onto it for just a little longer!

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  4. You are so right with all that. It's so bittersweet to be a "Mom in the Middle" of all of it. Someday I KNOW I'll miss the chaos I complain about on a daily basis.

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  5. Great posts! Makes me sad for all the lasts i don't remember either.

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  6. I think about this, too, from time to time. I'll suddenly realize I have hit a last and don't even remember when it was. Recently I looked at the stroller in the garage and realized it was obsolete. For how long has it sat there unused? I have no idea. It happens to gradually that there is no real memory to define the last. I think that is what makes it so hard, the lack of clarity means you can't say proper goodbyes to some stages.

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  7. The good thing is that right after lasts come new firsts, like the first time your kids go on dates. The first time they pass the sacrament, the first time they tell you they want to get married. That is cool too!

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  8. I don't even remember the firsts that well. It all seems like a blur. But it's easy to remember the feelings that went with them. When I look at old pictures, or the clothes they used to wear, or watch them in a new first the feelings come flooding back so fast. "Mom" is the best job in the world, though it is sometimes like banging your head on the wall repeatedly :)

    Nice post Lara!

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  9. The fun thing about firsts, then lasts, is that they grow up and bring grandchildren into the world and then you get to see all the firsts again.

    Nice post, I liked it.

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  10. I've never really thought about the lasts.... what a great post.

    Kinda makes me wistful for my boys to be little again so I would REALLY appreciate it.

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  11. I love this bittersweet post.

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  12. I relate to this so much! It sounds a bit like my last post. I love that they can do more for themselves, but I hate that they don't need me--a double edged sword right?
    I notice that I am always kissing my baby all over and thinking, you won't let me do this pretty soon. Enjoy every second right.

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  13. Oh. This is making me want my babies to stay young forever.

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  14. Funny, I guess I never noticed certain lasts either. The sad thing about lasts is that sometimes you never know when something WILL be the last time. Which is why we should make the most of each and every moment!

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  15. I almost cried reading this post! Our kids grow up SO fast . . . I haven't even thought about not giving Emmy baths anymore. I will be so sad when that day comes. But, you're right, there will be new milestones to look forward to. As hard as it is to do, we need to cherish these precious few years when they depend on us so much.

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  16. I love this Lara. I've been a sporadic reader/commenter lately because I'm barely breathing over here, but just wanted you to know I'm still here and still loving your stuff. :)

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  17. Oh, so bittersweet! Maybe we don't remember the lasts so often because we wouldn't be able to say goodbye to them—and hello to the new firsts.

    Now Bria will be your first young woman—and she'll make you proud. She's so lucky to have you there for every minute of it!

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  18. Very poignant. My 3 year old is getting so big so quickly now and it is hitting me more and more that we are in a series of lasts with small children at our house. It's very bittersweet.

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  19. Notice how this resonates with EVERYONE? I think most of us feel this a little but rarely think long about it or put it into words as well as you have. I think about it way too much, though. I love having a three year old and a baby. My life is filled with firsts which I cherish. However, knowing that we're done every one of Spencer's first is a last first. The last time one of my children will learn to crawl. The last time I will experience the joy or chubby arms outstretched as a body leans anxiously toward me for the first time (Spencer just started this). I think about my grandkids all the time. I don't think a mother of four with her own baby should be so excited and preoccupied thinking about her grandchildren!

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  20. So Sweet. It really is like you blink and suddenly their littleness has faded. I look at my oldest and wonder where her baby face went, when did she get so tall? It's great that you take the time to reflect on this kind of thing. Your daughters are lovely, by the way.

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