Saturday, October 2, 2010

The First Last

October 2, 2010

Today was a perfect day outside. The weather couldn't have been more inviting and my children were so content to be outside. We spent the better part of the day riding bikes, having a picnic, chit chatting with neighbors, walking, riding scooters, and playing with friends. In the course of today, Caley practiced riding her two-wheeled bike. (Now what made me decide to do this now, take off her training wheels I mean, I am not quite sure but that is quite possibly a whole 'nother blog post!) She rode up North Eastover and down South Eastover, she swerved back and forth, took short "breathing breaks," waved cheerfully to every passerby, and chattered nonstop up and down those roads. All the while I am bent over running, tripping on my own feet, telling her to keep pedaling, catching her near misses, sweating, shushing her chatter, reminding her to keep her eyes forward, and watching out for oncoming obstacles. My thighs were burning, my fingers were cramping and yet all the while she is as confident as a queen and excited to be "riding a two wheeled bike!" As all this was going on, my mind was in a complete reverse remembering this little girl who once was my sweet K-Bear Baby. I remember so much of her babyhood, I think because we were in flight school and Patrick was home much more. I had time to savor her. I remember her first steps, I remember her waving for the first time, I remember her coming home from the hospital, and I remember watching her crawl. She had a whole cheering section being the baby of four. I think each sibling can remember a first for Caley about something. As those firsts were flashing through my mind, I had a sad thought too. Since she is my last "baby," how many "lasts" had I missed of hers and of her older brothers and sister? A thought occurred to me, I have celebrated every first, but when you don't know it's a last, the moment passes without so much as a glance. When was the last time Logan reached out to grab my hand or ask me to read a picture book at bed, when was the last time Cole sat on my lap or needed me to buckle him getting in the car, when was the last time I had to lift Lillie on a swing or catch her coming down a slide , when was the last time Caley took a bottle or fell asleep in my arms, when was the last time the boys played with their Hot Wheels, or the girls with that soft pink doll? When was the last time I folded a little sleeper sack or burp cloths, pushed each one in a baby jogger, or fixed a sippy cup? When did I buy my last jar of baby food and when did I stop needing a diaper bag? All of those lasts went by unnoticed, not celebrated, or even documented, not because they weren't important, but I didn't take the time to step back and take notice. How much more would we savor a moment if we knew it was a last? Oh, the firsts, those are so much easier to recognize, but those of us with bigger children, how many lasts have we missed? And if we knew it was a last, how much more would we slow down, ponder, treasure that moment? Mary did the same as Jesus entered her life. God made her aware of her Son, who He was, and in a sense, gave her a glimpse of the first lasts to take notice of. She treasured and pondered (Luke 2:19). As I am running hunched over around the park, suddenly my back didn't seem to hurt as much and I was less concerned about her keeping her eyes on the road and waving to all of our neighbors instead of pedaling. God gave me a first last to savor, to document, to anticipate, and to remember. I know it is coming, there will be a last here soon. My last child to teach to ride a two wheeled bike, to run hunched over shouting encouragement, and to cheer on as she pedals away from me for the first time. Just like I saw her first steps coming, so I anticipated them, I watched for them, I carried around my camera to be certain to catch the moment, I will do in the upcoming days with my first last to take notice of. I will continue running around the park but I will be watching, I will be anticipating, and I will be remembering. I will take little snapshots in my mind and I will try to remember small details like her cute ballerina bike helmet and her sparkle shoes she is wearing. I will treasure this moment when it comes, I will carefully let go and watch her ride away, I will ponder the "bigness" of the moment and I won't miss it this time. Hopefully, this is the first of many lasts for me to treasure. I am so thankful that I get to have a first last with my Caley.

*October 5, 2010...She learned to ride. In one big moment, I let go and off she went. As you can see from the picture above, I didn't miss it.


  1. This made me cry so much! Thank you for sharing it. And today was the perfect outside day! And I still remember when I learned to ride a bike w/no training wheels. It's a special first last.

  2. Amy, such a wonderful encouraging piece! I have never thought about it like this. But now I, too, will be anticipating those first last moments!! Thanx for sharing!!

    Lots of love!

  3. What a great reminder, Amy- as I am in the thick of diapers and burp rags and tiny little underwear and constantly tripping on hot wheels. I was just nodding through tears as I read as I wrote about this very phenomenon when Ev turned one. The whole celebrating the lasts rather than the firsts. Because they DO go by so fast! It certainly helps perspective to know that we WILL miss these days. I read this book from the library when Ellie was a toddler... It's a tear jerker but the very same point. Let us all purpose to enjoy the moment! Not wish them older! Thanks for the reminder!!!

  4. So beautifully written, Amy, by a sensitive Mom whose sensitivity demonstrates that she was meant to have four children. And it's more proof that we have to stop and remember to savor the moment we're in because tomorrow is promised to no one. As for the weather: it is indeed a good time to be alive. Thanks for sharing this and pricking the memories of both every mom who has ever felt this way and of my own flight to freedom from training wheels - a good 64 years ago. Love as always, --Regina