A Year of Lasts

Photo by Art Rich Photography

Photo by Art Rich Photography

This might be one of the toughest posts I’ve had to write to this date. I came to one very real realization recently. While many of my friends are still dealing with plenty of firsts on the horizon with their kids, I’ve gotten to the point where there are less firsts and far too many lasts for us.

My oldest is in her last year of high school. That means that we had our last first day of school with her already. There are lots of lasts with her ahead. I hadn’t really thought about it too much until she officially submitted her first college application. This time next year she will be away at college. When we went to pick our pumpkins out that was likely the last time she was going to be doing that with us. When we go trick or treating tonight it will be the last time she comes with us.

Many of our lasts over the years I didn’t see coming, but this one, this time, this year it’s all very obvious how different things are going to be for us next year. I haven’t really wanted to admit how hard this is because I know for her it’s also hard. That moment in your life where you want to spread your wings and get out from under the thumb of your parents, but at the same time there’s so much uncertainty about what that is actually going to mean. As hard as this is for me to let go (and it has been especially hard with us so far this year) I know this is ten times harder for her.

All of these choices are on her right now. I can help and guide her, but at the end of the day it’s her life and it’s all her choice. And right now my major focus with her is to make it very clear that she has a soft place to land and will always have an ear to talk to in me when she needs more help and guidance.

We’re on the brink of a new chapter in our relationship. It’s an exciting and a scary time. I have spent years looking ahead to things like first steps, first words, first tooth, first holidays, first birthdays, first day of school, first visit from the tooth fairy, first school project, first dance, and yes even high school graduation. She has made it through all of these firsts, we have made it through all of these firsts, but only over the last few years did I realize how bitter sweet parenting really is.

A common theme with me seems to be to say, “Blink of an eye.” As in it’s all over too fast. There’s a piece of me that would love to go back to the last time she was shorter than me, to the last time she needed me to walk her to class, to the last time she need me to carry her in my arms, to the last time she needed me to feed her or bathe her and just hold onto those moments and really savor each and every one of them knowing it was the last. Then there’s this other part of me who is so excited for what is about to come for her. I wish I could help her understand just how great it’s going to be and even if I’m 1500 miles away or right in the same town when she goes to college it will all be worth it. All of her firsts even if they are without me, they’re going to be just as great and special and memorable.

As much as I would love to keep walking that path with her and being there for all of these firsts it’s all a part of life that she start to do these things on her own. I believe that whatever she does she’s going to be great at it. It’s going to be unbelievably scary for both of us, but it’s going to be unbelievably worth all of it.

Don’t mind me right now though. Right now while I still have my girl under the same roof as me I will take every moment I can to hold onto these lasts we will share together, and I will continue to look ahead to all of the amazing things she’s going to get to see and do. A year filled with lasts is still a year with many firsts to come and I’m looking forward to this ride and everything that is going to come.

And by the way, all of my readers, I know it has been a while since I’ve truly consistently blogged, but I’m making a commitment right here and right now for the month of November during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to blog more. I probably won’t be finishing writing any books during the month of November, but my goal is to try to write every weekday for the month of November on my blog. I’d love to write all 30 days of November, but I’m just not sure that’s a feasible goal for me. It has been a long time. Before I start that tomorrow I wanted you all to know where I’ve been. Now that I’ve admitted to the year of lasts with my daughter I think it’s about time I start chronicling more of these things we do as a family of 6 again on the blog. So I hope you’re ready to hear more from me as I take you through the craziness of having two daughters in high school, one applying to colleges this year, and two kids in elementary school, one who’s just really starting on this whole pathway to college journey. Things are probably going to be a tad emotional up in here this year. So sorry in advance about that.

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