When I first got pregnant with our oldest, I signed up for an email newsletter that would tell me what was going on with him in the womb: when he first sprouted fingernails; when he was about the size of a cauliflower, when he could blink his eyes. After Matt was born, the emails kept coming, a very convenient resource to help me watch out for what to expect next. As any new mother might, I always watched attentively for all of the firsts: first lift of the head, first roll from the tummy, first crawling and steps, first bites. With all that joyful noise after each milestone, you'd think no baby had ever successfully eaten peas before our son did.
Matt is now nearly three ("two and a half," says he), and we're seeing a new lists of firsts to watch for: when he'll draw his first circle and square, make his first friends, and have his first dry nights without a diaper. All this achievement in just a couple of very short years kind of got a reality check this weekend as I spent a frenetic afternoon decluttering today. Tucked under a scrapbook nearly four years in-process, I came across his first year baby calendar, waiting for me to paste pictures in it. Remarkably, and thanks to the fact that we hung it by the door in his room, it's pretty well filled in with those year-zero firsts.
Today's quick page of those 12 months made me smile a bit wistfully. I wondered, When did he stop being a baby? When was the last time he crawled? When was the last time he nursed? Did I know those would be his "lasts"?
What an epiphany for me. How many more "lasts" will dance off into the wind, carried away by Father Time before his sweet little childhood is suddenly over? I kid you not, my house is never clean enough. Everytime I turn around there is something to clean/straighten/put away. But I also turn around and there are my children. They are there, asking for a dance or a cuddle or a hug or for me to create Lightening McQueen out of play dough or legos. Their tiny little requests often get in the way of my having an empty kitchen sink or all my veggies chopped and ready for dinner at six. But any of these could be "lasts". And I'd rather remember the lasts of their childhood than the last great dinner I made.
I thank God for the great fortune and blessing of all the baby firsts to squeal with delight over. For the sweet sorrow of my baby boy shredding his infancy and someday his childhood through his lasts. And most, Lord, I thank you for each day I get to enjoy with him. That he still climbs up on my lap to read books. That he still comes to me when he hurts. That he still wants me to cuddle him to sleep at night. Thank you, Lord, for the stills.