From marking firsts to counting lasts

As we make our way through the early years of our children’s lives, we excitedly mark all the milestones. We celebrate the first smiles, first steps, moving to the big kid bed, potty training, first days of school…It doesn’t end with the first day of kindergarten, though, there are still so many firsts to conquer, and then slowly but surely a shift happens. You stop marking the firsts as all of the moments begin to carry the arguably greater weight of the “lasts.” First it’s the lasts that you don’t fully notice until they’re gone, the ones you can’t anticipate. Then it’s things like, the last first day of school, the last time you’ll shop for the formal attire – do the hair, take those pictures, the last concert, last meet, last game…

It’s all of the lasts until The Day. Graduation. As a mom, I’m not there yet, but as an aunt those days are coming sooner rather than later for my oldest nephew, the oldest nieces following close behind. You don’t have to tell me it’s an entirely different thing when it’s your very own, but these people, these nieces and nephews, they were the first littlest loves of my life. They hold life-changing residence in this heart of mine.

Admittedly, I am that aunt (and mama) who will mist at a moment’s notice. The tears don’t shy away from the firsts, they come readily over beautiful and exciting accomplishments, and effortlessly over the heartaches (potential or actual). And these lasts? Heaven help me. I am ill-prepared and wanting very much so to curl up in the fetal position, begging for someone, anyone to find us a pause button. Did I mention that we’re technically riding the wave of second-to-lasts? Yeah, we’re not even to the real “lasts” yet. Junior year. With all of those actual lasts just looming. Senior year is going to be a rough ride. With all of them.

Even with all of these lasts awaiting us, I am equally aware of some major firsts that we still get to count with my girl and her cousins. Going to middle school and high school, getting the driver’s license, first formals, first job, first dabbles into coupledom…So maybe that’s what is most incredible about this journey, even though the days of filling in baby books are long behind, the milestones keep coming. The thing that I’m realizing now, as we gradually encounter these lasts with these most spectacular beings, there are still so many exciting firsts to come. First day of college, first apartment…Maybe a wedding, grandbabies. Ahh, there it is: full circle. So even though we start counting these truly momentous lasts, many more incredible firsts are yet to come. Here’s to being in the moment, firsts, lasts, and everything in between.