For Moms of Young Ones: Their Lasts

     May is a month of endings toward new beginnings. High school graduates look forward to college and college graduates begin new careers (hopefully) and some of them even get married. I cannot tell you how glad I am that my boys still have several years before those things happen, even though it will be an exciting time.
     My lasts this year consist of a last year in primary school for my oldest and the last year in preschool for the youngest. Older brother will be moving on to the intermediate school and in the fall younger brother will enter public school.
     Karen Kingsbury’s book, Let Me Hold You Longer, comes to mind. She says, “I never said good-bye to all your yesterdays long passed. So what about tomorrow–will I recognize your lasts?” My youngest has been attracted to water since he could move. To him, a puddle equals a playground. The other day we were walking into preschool after it had rained. We came across a giant puddle. I looked down at him and saw his little wheels turning. As he walked around the puddle, he looked up at me and said, “I need to go around the puddles, right Mom?” I nearly cried. Partly from relief (he’s finally getting it!) and partly from sadness. Something carefree is being lost.
     How do we teach our children to have the right perspective on puddles? I have spent too much of my life taking the safe route. Avoiding the unknown trying to stay dry. I want my boys to be responsible, but I want them to have a healthy dose of the ability to let go. Life is much more exciting that way.
     I’ll still try to teach him to avoid puddles at times that aren’t convenient, but I’m also thinking we will break out the rain boots occasionally or run out in our bare feet and splash around a bit.
     Before you get too concerned, my little guy is not completely cured. I picked him up from his grandparents the other day. We were going to be on our way to a play date  He was playing outside with his cousin. As I got out of the car he jumped in a massive puddle. Repeatedly. Soaking his shoes and his shorts completely. Some things may never change, and just maybe I’ll learn to see the joy in lasts that never come.
“For come some bright fall morning, you’ll be going far away. College life will beckon in a brilliant sort of way. One last hug, one last good-bye, one quick and hurried kiss. One last time to understand just how much you’ll be missed. I’ll watch you leave and think how fast our time together passed.  Let me hold on longer, God, to every precious last.”
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