My friend Kitti (www.kittimurray.com) is a sage who says that raising kids is sad sometimes because, while you always record their “firsts,” you never really know when their “lasts” are happening, so you cannot mark them in time or savor them while they happen. True. When was my son’s last sippy cup? His last snooze in a car seat? His last, “sing one more song, mommy!” before bed? I really don’t know, and that makes my heart a bit nostalgic for what “last” I might have overlooked today.
Moving is different. Well-defined lasts abound. Tonight was to be our last family dinner in our home, but a track meet ran late, so we ate on the fly rather than around the table. That just-missed-last has me choked up tonight.
I just took my second to last shower in my shower upstairs. I’ve carted the last load of groceries into my big-‘ole kitchen. And, this afternoon, I helped a twelve-year-old sort through the last of his scattered and under bed (even in bed!) toys to decide what stays and what goes. Head in hands, half way through, he lamented, “downsizing is HARD, mom.” Yes, son, today it is.
Dread is a pretty disgusting emotion. It’s heavy and dark and lumpy and doesn’t really fit. Not that I dread moving, but I dread leaving. I dread my next 48 hours of last.
As with this whole move, I think of my refugee friends. I wonder how many lasts were unable to fit into neatly labeled cardboard boxes or carefully sorted piles. I wonder how many good-byes were whispered, lonely into nighttime pillows rather than offered with loving hugs or savored over coffee. I wonder how it feels to be ripped rather than gently pried away from a home. It must hurt deeply, and the dread must linger more fully, when lasts aren’t marked and counted.
So today, I am trying to appreciate my cognizance of all of the lasts.
“Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord—with the first of them and with the last—I am He.” Isaiah 41:4