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  • Writer's pictureJFM

Firsts and Lasts

A friend of mine posted a picture this morning of her 18 year old son’s last day of high school. She captioned it with ‘Hug your little ones tight Mamas it goes so fast’. While that is a saying I hear often these days, this one resonated.

Her son’s “lasts” are my daughter’s “firsts”. We will be taking photos on the porch in August for her first day of Kindergarten, just like she did today for her son’s last day of high school. I can picture her little face now just beaming with excitement as she wears her little notecard that tells her teachers her name, classroom and bus number. I am holding back tears as I even TYPE this out! How the hell am I going to make it through that day?!

She brought me over to her desk to show me her son’s pictures from his first day of Kindergarten. They were adorable. He looked exactly as I picture my daughter will be. Excited, young, innocent, sweet and ready for school. My friend told me all about that day and how she felt inside. Now she is on the other side of it, emotional to let her little boy move away to school while he is excited for the new adventure. She told me about some of the memories with her 2 kids (who are almost exactly the same age apart as mine). I saw tears in the corner of her eyes a few times…and of course, I had some as well.

My kids take the 30 minute commute with me to work because they go to daycare/preschool across the street from my office. We sing, play games, count, etc. every day. I have caught myself complaining some days that I wish I had some kid-free quiet time in the car before work. 30 minutes to gather my thoughts before I head into the workday often sounds so delightful. The fact of the matter is, today I realized that will have one less person in my commute in 3 months. I am going to miss her voice telling me 500 times about what she wants to do for her next birthday party (in 8 months). I am going to miss her wanting to hear “Yeah” by Usher one more time before school. I am going to miss connecting with her eyes in the rearview mirror as her brother throws his dinosaurs around the backseat.

I am going to miss her so much. Even when it is hard getting out of the house because we forgot a lunch or they are making me late because we are counting worms on the driveway after it rains.

Motherhood connections like the one I had this morning with my friend put so much into perspective for me. Moms who have experienced life events with their kids before me are not know-it-alls. They have just been there and know how it felt. This connection brought me closer to her. I am sure we will be swapping stories now. While I worry about my daughter making new friends and enjoying her new classroom, she will be worrying about her son living on his own. We can connect on these levels. I can learn from her to be more present. She can reminisce about when her kids were young through my stories. We can both learn!

My daughter’s first day of Kindergarten will likely fall within the same week or so of her son’s first day of college. The first/last cycle will continue to repeat itself. Kids will grow and moms will cry. They are moments we prepare years for…and then feel so unprepared when they arrive. All we can do is sit back, take a deep breath and watch our kids go into the world. For some that world is Kindergarten and for others is it college.

I will be on the other end of this journey one day. It feels like a long time away, but I know it will fly by just as she described. One day, I will be showing my pictures to a mom with a little one starting school. For now, I will take this learning experience. Focusing on the good moments, enjoying my time with them (even when it is exhausting) and remembering that my firsts are someone else’s lasts.

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