The Last Time
From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
you will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before,
When you have freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.
But don’t forget …You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feedings and burping,
Nappy changes and crying,
Whining and fighting,
Naps or a lack of naps,
It might seem like a never-ending cycle.
There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed
your baby for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.
One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake to this.
One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus”
and do all the actions,
Then never sing them that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face.
They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.
The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
Until there are no more times.
And even then, it will take you a while to realize.
~ author unknown
I first read this poem years ago when my children still toddled and held my hand and snuggled with me. I loved it then and vowed to make the most of every moment with my kids. I tried. Despite all my shortcomings – and they are many – I always tried to savor the big and not-so-big times with my children, knowing that one day they would end.
I would recognize those last times. I would. I was positive that I would stop and think, “This is the last time. I will remember this and cherish it.”
But you won’t because you can’t. That last stanza holds a mighty truth. You won’t even know it’s the last time until there are no more times.
When I first became a mom, so many people told me not to blink.
Life flies by in a blink.
Don’t blink or you’ll miss so much.
You blink, turn around and they’re grown.
In the blink of an eye, they are all grown up.
I didn’t think I blinked. I tried not to blink. I must have though because suddenly my littles are grown. Maybe not grown but definitely knocking on the door. My 16-year old son is driving and over 6 feet tall. My 12-year old daughter is tall and beautiful and changing into a young lady.
I want to relive some of those last times.
the last time he held my hand in church
the last time she laid her head on my shoulder
the last time I wiped their tears
the last time he sang the song he wrote for me called My Sweetheart
the last time she kissed me with her eyes and mouth wide open
the last time I tucked them into bed and sang our special Good Night Song
the last time they sat in the front of the buggy at the store and I could kiss them any time I wanted
the last time I smoothed their hair
the last time they tucked their tooth under their pillow for the tooth fairy
the last time they sat on my lap for any reason or no reason
the last time they said “I love you” and looked at me like I was the only one they loved that much
the last time I rocked them to sleep
the last time they called me Mommy
So many precious moments I will never have again.
Neither one of them have chubby cheeks waiting to be kissed or pudgy hands wanting to be held anymore. Instead they wear big people shoes and have lives that don’t revolve around mom. How did that happen? When did that happen?
I want the time back.
I want to turn back the clock and do it all over again. Even the poopy diapers and the potty training and the time outs.
I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
This poem came to mind last week as I drove past my kids’ school and saw my son’s car out front in the parking lot.
How can it be possible that my baby, my sweet son, drives himself and his little sister to school every day without me? He even drove himself to the dentist for his cleaning appointment, paid for it and made a decision on whether or not he needed x-rays. Surely not that much time has gone by. We can’t be here already.
Yet we are here. Whether I like it or not (I don’t) or whether I want it or not (nope), my children continue to grow up and grow away. The days of my house filled with children and laughter are dwindling down. All the quiet snapshots of life with mom smack dab in the middle are waning. They get themselves up, eat breakfast, brush their teeth, pack their book bags, wave good bye and there they go. Without me.
They might not need me but I still need them.
I know this is our goal: to raise independent and well-adjusted children who can go out on their own and be productive citizens in this great, big world. We are doing that. We have raised two very kind, well-mannered, God-loving, smart kids. They will both do well in college and on their own.
I know that is our goal. Give them wings and watch them fly. I know it but I don’t have to like it.
We have two more years left with my son at home. Those years will go fast. They will. My heart aches just thinking about it. I can’t imagine him not living with us all the time. Seeing him come down the stairs in the morning with fabulous bed head. Laughing with him over my Snapchat ignorance or arguing with him about who knows the words to more songs. (Seriously, Son, I’ve been around for FIVE DECADES! I know the words to a lot of songs!) I will miss him.
I will definitely be that mom boo hooing her head off at college drop off. Don’t judge. If I hang on his leg and my husband is forced to pull me off, then you can judge. It’s possible. I dread it.
I still have some last times to come. I pray that I recognize them when they happen and that I am able to truly enjoy these years with my children.
I may not have recognized the last times as they happened, but I do have all the memories of them. Sweet and beautiful memories of my time as a mom with little ones. Such a wonderful and fleeting time. If you are in the middle of it, don’t wish it away or hope it hurries up. It will and far faster than you would like.
Being a mom has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. What a joy to be given these little people to raise and love and nurture and hold!
Now if time would just sloooow way down!