Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Last Lasts and First Firsts

First Day of School
I'm writing a column for a small local paper, The Island Moon. This is the first one! I will be posting them weekly.

Today was my last first day of kindergarten. Last firsts…I’ve been having a lot of those lately.

As of August 27, 2012, I have passed through the parenting portals of infant, crawler, toddler, and finally, potty-trained, backpack-toting, nap-mat-needing preschooler. I have done it three times. I have done it male and female. 

And I have survived. I still have most of my sanity intact and portions of my body.

This morning I drove down Hustlin' Hornet Drive and dropped off a 7th grader, a 4th grader and the last fresh-faced kindergartener for their first day of school.

The last...

My last kiddo did it all this year: graduated from preschool, learned to read, learned to swim and jumped into the "deep end." And, my oldest daughter started junior high today - which feels like a kind of ending too.

My life has changed from stay-at-home-mom of empty house from 8 to 3.

I'm not a super emotional mama, as mamas go, but there's no denying the huge change this is for me and my family. It's not that I have nothing to do (books to write, husband to help, volunteering to do, body to whip into shape), but one last after another has taken its toll on my heart.

I ask the questions every mama asks in the quiet of the night - have I loved enough, taught enough, read enough, prayed enough? Enough for them to be ready for today? Today - my very last last of the preschool years?

One of the nights I asked that question, I heard an answer in response. In the emotional chaos that my nighttime wonderings can be, this statement broke through with peaceful clarity: "Last lasts lead to first firsts." 

First firsts...hmmm. I began to imagine all of the firsts this year will bring.

This will be the year of free babysitting. (I know. That shouldn't be first on my list, right? Read: consistent date nights.) This will be the year everyone can read their own book on car-trips. We will ride roller coasters together (no one will be too short), bike together (no training wheels) and come home together from school. We will play games together (no one will be left out), do chores together (everyone can reach) and stay up late together on Friday nights! The firsts never end.

Thank God for the midnight reminder that firsts and lasts are all about growing and becoming (for me and my kids). This season is always the right season to attend to with everything I’ve got.

I'm thankful for lasts and firsts, knowing that they are part and parcel with the never-ending responsibilities and privileges of motherhood.

A wiser man than me once said:

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…" - King Solomon

Firsts, here I come!

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