There’s a Last Time for Everything


A few days back there was a post in my Facebook newsfeed that caught my eye. It was a mother’s blog post about appreciating  all the moments with your kids, not just the ‘firsts’ that so often steal the stage.

And I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

There are some amazing firsts — the first smile, the first hug, the first word, the first I love you.

The first logical argument against your decision.

But there are so many lasts that slip away unnoticed. The last monster under the bed, the last snuggle on the couch, the last can I sit on your lap.

These disappear unnoticed, because it never occurs to us that this will be the last time. We don’t know it’s over until a year of uninterrupted sleep goes by. And by then it is far too late to savor.

I can’t help thinking about it, because in less than 12 hours my 4-year-old son, my only child, is going under anesthesia for surgery.

Intellectually I know he will be okay. It’s a minor procedure, he’s healthy and strong. But inside, the Mommy in me is losing her mind with fear. The evil demon Whatif has been stalking me, being more insistent as the days pass.

Outside I am calm. He knows that he is going to the doctor, that he will be sent to sleep. He knows that when he wakes up his boys are going to hurt a lot, and that he won’t walk for a few days.

Inside I’m a frigging mess. And so is my husband.

We have both lost so many of the people that we love, we have both had so many bad last times, that it is hard to prop each other up. And we are the only ones we have. What is left of our immediate families – mothers for each of us – are too far away. His physically, mine mentally.

So today all we could do was keep ourselves together by loving him.

We might have allowed a little too much pre-Halloween candy.

Bedtime was a little later than it should’ve been.

I ate that nasty-assed BBQ mealworm to amuse him.

And right now, I’m sure Daddy is reading extra books.

Because of course today, the potential for last times is obvious. But I’ll do my best tomorrow on the drive home to remember that. And I’ll try harder on Sunday when the antsy can’t move state can no longer be appeased by the new Wii hiding in the closet.

It shouldn’t take being scared for me to appreciate the level of love I have for him. So tonight I am making promise to myself.

When he asks to hear the Purple People Eater just one more time, I’ll hit repeat again. And I’ll practice that stupid voice until I get it right.

Because eventually, it will be the last time.

**If anyone recalls seeing the post from the Mommy blogger about last times that was making the rounds on Facebook recently, can you leave a link or comment for me? I owe her my thanks.

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12 thoughts on “There’s a Last Time for Everything

  1. Best luck today. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. I’ve been there with three of my four babies and know that surgery is the most difficult thing we can put our kids through…because it is so dang hard on us emotionally.

    If there is one thing I’ve learned, it is to treat each day as a last. Thanks for reminding me of that.

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    • As much as we know intellectually so many difficult things with kids will end up fine, it’s tough to go through those things emotionally. When my son had a simple day-surgery, I was a mess in the anaesthesia room for similar reasons – having lost too many people recently. Good luck today.

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      • That’s what this was – and you’re right, it is the emotional/intellectual war that was killing me. He’s home now, and we are relieved, but we were a mess until it was over. Thanks for stopping by and offering support.

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  2. This is a beautifully written post that reminds me of all the firsts and lasts of my own son, now a young adult. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and best wishes to you and your family today.

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  3. All the best for your boy’s surgery. It’s so hard when their welfare is taken so completely out of our hands isn’t it? Don’t worry. My youngest son had open heart surgery at 5 years old. The operation took 8 hours and required a double by-pass. I’m glad I didn’t know they’d had to bypass his heart twice, because even just once carries the risk of paralysis, heart failure, or death. It was probably the hardest time of my life and I’ve had some doozies. Yet, here we are, two years later and all is well. And it will be for you and yours as well, Lynnette.

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    • Thanks Yvette. I’m not sure I could have handled knowing about something the magnitude of a double bypass either. 8 hours, wow. 3 hours was enough for me. I am so glad to hear all is well now for you, and I appreciate you stopping by and offering words of support.

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  4. I wish the best for you boy and I certainly understand how you feel about the “last time ever.” The last time I saw my father, he was bidding me goodbye, on a train platform, as I left Oakland, California for a return to Michigan and school. He died later that year. So,I get horrible attacks of ‘what ifs?’ So, even though logic wills out, emotion does have a tendency to go into jet-engine mode. I’m awful. A simple colonoscopy for my 65-year old better half turned into a 24-hour DEFCON5 emotional national emergency for an hour. Of course, all was well. The worst part of that day was the rain from boring T.S. Debbie and the bus ride home. I wish you and your family the best. It will be well and you can go back to “Purple People Eater.”

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    • Thanks for stopping by and sending good wishes. One of my bad goodbyes was also to my father, and that goodbye, along with a couple more have made me very conscious that there is a difference between bad goodbyes and good ones. For us, we are indeed back to the Purple People Eater for the 10,000th time and I am totally ok with that.

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