We capture the 'first' moments of our children's lives with such eagerness and care...but something I've been aware of lately is the 'lasts'. The 'lasts' have been sneaky. The firsts I could see coming - first tooth, crawling for the first time, first time riding a bike - but the lasts have definitely caught me off guard. About a week ago, we noticed that the kids would come in after being on the trampoline and had black marks all over their hands, legs and clothes. The colour of the mat was actually rubbing off on them. On closer inspection, the mat had tears in it and was becoming dangerous and so we made the decision to take the 'tramp' down. It has been a faithful friend to our kiddos over the years but they hardly played on it at all lately. Many kids have visited and hung out on it. Gymnastics skills have been honed on it. Dogs have rested under it in the shade with our kiddos snuggled up into them laughing, reading stories together. I remember the day our kids helped Brett put it up and how I balanced the baby on my hip as I juggled taking photos and cheering everyone on.
But yesterday, the frame was pulled apart before the back lawn was mowed by our 18 year old son. There were no photos taken but I watched from the kitchen window and I felt a pang of sadness strike my heart. Sometimes these feelings catch us off guard (or is that just me?!)
I don't remember the last day my big boys climbed our liquidambar tree but it has come and gone. I didn't document the last time we all went to the library to borrow books and bring them home to crawl up in our own spaces and read the afternoon away. I don't remember the last time I walked all 5 kids up to the shops to get them out of the house, burn off some extra energy and treat them to an ice-cream. These days, I have 3 drivers who each own their own car and drive themselves to and from work. They go and get their own ice-creams (and us too sometimes!) Don't get me wrong: it's lovely...really! But I somehow missed that the little moments, that made up our life for so long, would not only have their 'firsts' for me to experience, they'd also have their 'lasts'.
I remember when our homeschooling days with 5 together were VERY full. Balancing needs and wants, conversations and comfort, encouragement and discipline all took so much effort and felt like it would last forever. And it did. Yet, in a moment, without me knowing it, those lasts snuck up on me and caught me by surprise. There was no fanfare, no flashing lights and no music playing in the background as a soundtrack to prepare me to take the photo. All I did was live that moment. Many lasts have now come and gone. Some are yet to happen. And I know that they too will bring a mix of sadness and joy from deep down in this heart full of contentment. I'm glad we lived our firsts and lasts and all the in-betweens together. Even though they weren't documented in photos, the 'last' memories are punctuated into my soul and I will treasure them as much as the 'firsts'.
Go for the walk and buy the ice-creams. Watch the sky change colours with the setting sun with your kids. Enjoy the picnic on the trampoline while it is still up. Because....you never know when that moment might be your 'last'.
More soon, Lusi x