From Firsts to Lasts

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From Firsts to LastsWe are on an almost robotic setting with some things in life, not because we don’t care about those things, but because we are just so used to them that we don’t think about them each time we do them. People always talk about firsts: a baby’s first word, first steps, first foods…the list goes on. What no one warns you about is the lasts, however.

We prepare ourselves for the firsts in life, but what about the lasts?

When I was getting the kids to the bathtub the other night, I realized I didn’t know when I had last helped my oldest with his hair. He has grown up so fast. Lasts have a big difference when compared to firsts: we know when it’s a first, but we only realize it was a last in hindsight. We get to enjoy the firsts, take pictures, make videos, tell friends and family, but when it’s a last, we only find out after it’s passed.

We thoroughly enjoyed our last baby because we knew she was our last, but when your last baby nurses for the last time, it hits hard. I wasn’t prepared in one way, but more than ready in others. She was two and I was ready for her to wean as I had either been pregnant or nursing for the past almost nine years. She slowly weaned, she cut down to only a couple times a night, then every couple of nights, and before I knew it, she hadn’t nursed in a week. I didn’t realize when she nursed the last time that it was the last. It was bittersweet. Most lasts seem to be this way.

There is one last that I think we can agree is glorious. The last diaper change. When your baby finally decides to potty train, you count down until you can stop buying diapers. I wasn’t sad to see this last with my older three kids. My last is still in pull-ups and starting to potty train, but I know it is a sign of her getting older and more independent which makes me a little sad, but it’s a fun milestone for her.

There are so many lasts that we don’t think about as milestones. The last time you walk your child to class, whether it be the children’s program or their first day of school. The last time you style their hair before they are too grown and independent to accept your help. The last time you brush their teeth because they no longer want your help. These lasts creep up on us. One day we are looking at our baby and the next they are their own independent person with their own thoughts and wants and personality. It seems to happen in the blink of an eye.

Don’t you wish we had a warning for some of these lasts? Like a text saying “Hey, this month will be the last time you do xyz.” A heads up so we can savor it, a warning so we don’t miss it. It would be nice, but instead of that, we could just learn to slow down, savor these moments for just being moments in our lives and remember to take it all in even, in the chaos.

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