There are milestones in our children’s lives we mark with pictures, Facebook posts and baby book entries: their first smile, first steps, first day of school and first date. There are other major moments in their lives, however, that go by so subtly we don’t even realize they have happened until it’s too late to capture them. They are lasts rather than firsts. Just like that, these precious moments are gone and there’s no going back to savor that one last time.
1. The last time they skip
My 6-year-old daughter skips nearly everywhere she goes. At the grocery store, around the house or down the street, I watch from a few steps behind and bask in that pure, simple happiness there is at this age. I know someday the skips will be replaced with steps, and I’ll wonder when she stopped skipping.
2. The last time they call you “mommy” or “mama”
I remember the first time my son called me “mom” instead of “mommy.” It was a bit of a shock, but cute to hear him try to sound mature. Still the “mommy’s” kept coming, with a smattering of ever-increasing “mom’s” (especially around his friends). Then one day — a day I don’t recall at all — I was no longer “mommy” to him and probably never will be again.
3. The last time you carry them
Even when my children started walking, I still carried them a lot. Sometimes because they complained they were tired, and sometimes because it was just easier to whisk them up and get where we were going. Mostly though, I carried them because I loved that closeness — their little arms around my neck, their cheek close enough to kiss at will. Somewhere along the way they got too heavy or decided they were too big, and now my hip carries no one.
4. When they move on from a beloved stuffed animal or blanket
Little Froggy went everywhere with my son during his toddler years. Everywhere. And then one day he just didn’t. He’s still upstairs in a pile of discarded stuffed animals and every time I catch a glimpse of him, I wonder when it was that he ended up there.
5. The last time they sit in the stroller or grocery cart
It’s a gradual transition. More walking, less riding, and then more and more you just don’t take the stroller out of the car. They walk alongside you at the grocery store and you realize how handy that front seat portion is for eggs and bread on those days. Then one day that’s all you know.
6. The last time they sit on your lap
Reading a book in a rocking chair with Baby on my lap — those were some of my favorite times with my kids. Then they grew taller and I couldn’t see the pages over their heads. They moved to the seat beside me, and it hasn’t been quite the same.
What milestones have you missed?