This time of year is a favorite for most people and with good reason. Those last few days before summer break for kids, the start to hot days filled with sprinklers, ice cream and late nights. For me of course it’s a great time, but also bittersweet. Our youngest daughter had her last day of Pre-K this past Friday and as I watched her walk out of the school, for what I realized was the last time ever, I made sure to take a picture to commemorate the moment and even shed a small tear. But, as we drove home I got to thinking about all the other moments in the life of parents and children that come to an end, that have a last time ever, but that we don’t commemorate or even realize is happening.
I got to thinking of when my kids get older and there will be a point where I will carry them in my arms for the last time ever. Will I even notice that deep toddler belly laugh for the last time? Tonight when they jump into my bed scared at the thunder and looking for comfort, will it be for the last time? These are the small moments in life where time and memory are not on our side. As parents we are so busy with the day-to-day routines and stresses that it can be hard to take a moment to stop and appreciate the age and stage of development our kids are in and to see the small changes as they are happening.
As I got home that day and gave my kids a snack, I thought: do my parents remember the last time they made me a snack? Did they realize the last time they helped me with my homework was going to be the last time or that it would be the last time they read me a book? Did they get sad one day when they realized I was older and didn’t need them as much? That is how I know I am going to feel, blindsided one day, maybe when I see my youngest doing her own hair or navigate the latest technology. I’ll think, when was the last time I did that for her? And most likely I won’t remember.
I know as I scroll through my social media accounts this week and next I’ll see kids holding signs commemorating their last day of school and I’ll smile and take the same pictures of my own children. But, I hope as I go through this summer I’ll stop to commemorate the small moments as we go. Take lots of pictures, stop to notice the growth in each day, even if small.