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.