Today is a Thursday. Nothing special. Nothing to report home. Apart from today is the 'last' Thursday. It's the last Thursday I will have with my youngest with me before he starts pre-school three days a week next week. To be honest I forgot. But then I took the below photo and it dawned on me. That this time next week he won't be sneaking a nap on his big sister's bed, or having a cuddle with me. He won't be demanding snacks. He will be somewhere else. It will feel weird at first but like most last times? It will pass and quickly become part of the norm.
You never quite know when things are the last time do you? You spend the first 18 months or so thinking about 'firsts'. First smile, first word, first crawl, first time they sleep through the night (PRAISE THE LORD). You cheer when they do their first few steps and take a photo when they eat their first piece of food. But the last things just slip by. I can't remember the last bottle, or the last nappy I changed on my daughter. I don't remember the last time I cuddled her from her afternoon nap or the last time she needed me to help her up the slide at the park.
They don't make shabby chic milestone cards that say "This is the last bottle you will feed your baby before she drinks watery squash like a big girl". Or "This is the last Thursday you will spend with your son before he starts to learn all about the big wide world". Those would be seriously sad cards. You would have big beaming smiles on your children in the photos. But your heart would be heavy whilst you uploaded them to Facebook.
One of the most glorious things about becoming a parent is that you get to see your tiny baby develop into a stubborn (and sometimes insane) toddler and you beam with pride as you watch them perform in the Nativity. Their hair all scruffy and their shirt untucked. That's as far as I have got down the path of watching my two grow up. But I know there will be the last time they want to hold my hand in public. The last time I can kiss the back of their neck without them screaming "IT'S WEIRD". There will be a last time I see them walk out of the house to go to secondary school. And the last time they leave me to go to University. Or, gulp, the last day I see them before they themselves become parents.
So whilst we will always record the first times with photos and applause. I am also going to start to focus on the 'last' times. When my son awakes all grumpy from his nap and I get to hold him whilst he comes round. I will treat it like the last time. When my daughter jumps on my lap for a cuddle and a kiss, even though I have a million and one things to do. I will slobber over her neck whilst I can. The first times are for them. But the last times? For us. To remember forever.