wasn’t the last time.
Recently a number of friends have experienced the last time of things.
Situations or happenings where it was over and they knew it was impossible to ever go back.
Dissolution of marriages. Sudden loss of loved ones. Unexpected job downsizings. Endings of friendships etc.
The sort of stuff where you know, now that it’s done, you can never return (marriage. job. friendship) and life will never be the same (loved one loss.).
The last time.
I never thought much about the existence of the last time until I became a mother.
I’d moved back to Austin from Guatemala and I asked a friend, mother to a teen, to meet for coffee.
“I remember how exhausting that age was,” she said glancing my daughter’s highchair. “Still, I’d love to return and spend one day with my child as a toddler and one day with her as a tween. But only one day.”
not the last time.
I recall thinking, fatigued from months of single motherhood in a different country, Why on earth would you want to go back in time? I can’t imagine forgetting the feeling of this and, right now, it’s not so glamorous!
As my daughter has gotten older, however, I’ve begun to grasp what my friend meant.
I’ve missed so many last times.
We all miss these final moments or so I’d like to think.
It’s not so much we’re busy wishing the days away it’s more these final events pass quietly and without fanfare.
One day we’re frustrated because our child can’t talk yet/express what she needs and suddenly POOF the sweet gibberish of childhood is gone never to return.
I’d bet one of my beloved Diet Cokes the majority of us missed that final gibberish laden sentence.
The strung together syllables we think we’d have treasured had we known it to be the last time and would have definitely remembered forever (or at least posted on FaceBook).
full-sleeve? last time.
As I’ve bumbled through motherhood I’ve reflected on my friend’s words.
I’ve tried to focus on them while being used as a human jungle-gym for a three year old or begging a toddler to eat not smear her food on her face.
I’ll miss this when it’s gone. This could be the last time.
Confession? It hasn’t always worked.
I’ve snapped at that three year old.
I’ve taken the food away rather than admire how she’s enjoying its texture and feel.
last loving Mother’s Day missive? we’ll know next month.
Lately it’s all gotten easier.
Motherhood, as promised, has gotten easier.
Sure, also as promised, the problems have gotten bigger as the child has gotten bigger (hello, social media contracts & “trust but verify”) yet I’ve found myself able to embrace stuffs which would have irritated me only months ago.
- Mama, come talk to me while I shower.
- Mama, can we please go to Multicultural Night tonight at school together?
- Mama, it’s storming. I can’t sleep. Can I get in
your tiny twinbed with you?
Before we began the swift descent toward teen’dom my answers might have been:
- Seriously? Can you not shower solo?
- How much do you r-e-a-l-l-y want to go? Do you have to be there?
- The thunder will definitely end soon. If it doesn’t then come back.
twin costumes. last time.
The biggest gift in this insight is my awareness hasn’t paralyzed me.
I’m still able to fully experience my life without the sense of this could be the last time becoming debilitating.
In that way it’s evolved into a twist on the Buddha quote: The trouble is you think you have time.
We may. We may not. This may be the last time. This may not be.
From motherhood to marriage. From family to friends. Is the answer to becoming wholly present in our lives as simple as challenging ourselves with this question:
If I knew this were the last time–how could I enjoy it more fully?