Childhood “Lasts”

It is an absolute joy to watch a child grow up (perhaps less so as they hit the teen years, but that’s a different story). Starting from birth, children are learning, exploring, developing, and growing at a rapid rate. We mark this development as we observe various “firsts”: first solid food, first time crawling, first steps, first words, etc. As the years go by, the pace of milestones dramatically decreases, and in the teen years the “firsts” become oriented toward becoming an adult: first crush, first date, first kiss, first time driving, first job, etc.

What we as parents often miss, however, are the “lasts” that occur at the same pace (rapid in the early years–slowing throughout the years). These milestones are every bit as important. However, as lasts, they are more difficult for us to recognize as they occur. We may not realize until years later–oh yeah, that doesn’t happen anymore. As I thought through some of these, it actually brought tears to my eyes. Had I known it was going to be the last time, I would have taken the time to cherish it that much more. So below is my list some “lasts”. If you’ve never thought about this before, you may want to grab a Kleenex. It breaks your heart a little bit when you remember all the little rituals of childhood that have passed.

As a baby, there was the last time…

  • She woke you up crying in the middle of the night
  • You changed a diaper
  • She nursed
  • She drank from a bottle
  • She needed binkie to fall asleep
  • You dressed her
  • You fed her
  • You rocked her to sleep
  • You woke up to her sweet cooing in the morning
  • You gave her a bath
  • She slept in a crib

Next, during the toddler years, there was the last time… 

  • She fell asleep watching Barney
  • She rode in a stroller
  • You buckled her into a car seat
  • She sucked her thumb
  • She pulled the pots and pans out to bang them together
  • She wrapped her hand around your finger while walking with you
  • You kissed an owwie to make it better
  • She got chocolate smeared all over her face
  • She pulled on the cat’s tail
  • You tucked her in
  • She woke you up way too early on a Saturday morning
  • She slept for the entire trip
  • She rode a bike with training wheels
  • She needed help tying her shoes
  • You picked her up to help her get a drink at the water fountain
  • You took her to restroom with you
  • She cried when her balloon floated away

Then in elementary school, there was the last time…

  • She woke up on Christmas morning excited that Santa had been there
  •  She left a tooth under the pillow for the Tooth Fairy
  • She hunted for Easter eggs
  • She colored a picture for you to hang up at work
  • She played in the Playland at McDonalds
  • She sang the ABC song
  • You held her hand while crossing the street
  • You hoisted her up to put the angel on the Christmas tree
  • You pushed her on the swing
  • She asked you to come have lunch with her at school
  • She sat on Santa’s lap
  • You went to Toys-R-Us so she could explore and dream about what she wanted for Christmas
  • She curled up in your lap to read a book
  • She played on the floor with her toys
  • You carried her your shoulders
  • She rode on the kiddie rides at the carnival
  • She ordered from the kid’s menu

Finally, during the teen years, there was the last time…

  • She went trick-or-treating
  • She needed your help with homework on a daily basis

Still upcoming for me is the last time…

  • I drove her to school
  • She received an allowance
  • She slept in the house as a member of the household

(I couldn’t come up with a lot for the teens years. I think this is probably because The Older Daughter is 14 and the “losses” haven’t hit me yet.)

I have tried to do a good job throughout the years of staying involved and doing lots with the kids. Still, there are regrets sometimes. Occasionally, I’ll think of something that I always wanted to do with them, but now it’s too late because they’re too old. We have lots of pictures and videos, but sometimes I look back and wish we had taken more. I also wish that I had kept a journal. I would give anything to know some of my thoughts during their early years or to have a record of a conversation we had over a peanut butter and jelly sandwich lunch between Barney movies.

But enough of the regrets. It’s never too late to do a better job. Part of the reason I started this blog was to help record some of my thoughts over time. I also hope that this post can in some way inspire newer parents also. To those new parents: Just remember, while time may seem to be going by slowly now, you’ll look back 15 years from now and wonder where it all went. Cherish and make the most of every moment. Take pictures, take videos, and keep a journal. Most importantly, just take time to be a family. The housework can wait, but your kids will only be kids for a very short time. Make the most of it.

One Response to “Childhood “Lasts””

  1. Bryan Post.. « Nectarfizz’s Web-Thingy Says:

    […] 6, 2008 by nectarfizz Bryan made a fantastic post in his journal that I felt deserved more eyes. Here it […]

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