Replacing Children's Lasts with Lifetime Firsts
A youngest child's kindergarten graduation is the signal of firsts to come.
I realized the other day that more and more I’ve stopped marking the “firsts” of my childrens’ lives and started marking a few “lasts”.
Some lasts are good – the last diaper, the last pacifier, the last pull-up, the last time I have to drag a diaper bag around, the last middle-of-the-night feeding.
Some lasts are bittersweet. Last week my daughter graduated from kindergarten. As the youngest – this was a “last” for us.
“It’s the last time we’ll have to sit in this hot gymnasium elbowing other parents for space to take pictures,” I said to my husband.
That’s when it hit me. It was the last time. Our youngest (who I SWEAR was just born last week!) would be the last little one to race down that center aisle with their head down in a little cap and gown. Part of me is glad but another part is sad to think that we’re going to have more lasts than firsts from now on.
There are still some major events to look forward to of course, like the first date, the first school dance, high school graduation, weddings and grandchildren. Our youngest still has training wheels on her bike so we also have one more “first time on a big kid bike” to go. I refuse to think about driver’s licenses.
Even though parents grumble about the preschool and kindergarten graduations, we love them. I’m not a terribly emotional person but I felt my throat go tight when I saw my daughter in her cap and gown. It wasn’t that hard to flash forward to 2023 and imagine her at her high school graduation – one step closer to leaving home for college.
While I love giving my scrapbooking supplies a workout as I document these milestones, I can’t help feeling a little sad as I mark the passage of their childhoods. Of course, we still have the first banana split, the first time off the high dive, a couple first camping trips, the first time in an airplane, etc. to look forward to.
There are probably lots of firsts still in my future but more and more I’m going to be taking pictures of something for the last time with my kids and that made me a little sad last week.
I shook it off over celebratory ice cream as I realized how lucky I am to be able to share these moments at all. I get to be there, encouraging, teaching and helping my kids reach these milestones. My presence and love and interest in them as people and in their lives will help shape them into the adults they’ll become with, hopefully, not too many mistakes to mar the final product.
So even as we recognize and celebrate more and more things for the last time, I’ll try to remember that everything is going exactly as it should and enjoy those moments just as much as I enjoy all the first times.