For our little family of three, Wednesday began the “week of lasts.”
Our last Wednesday as a family of three.
Our last date night as parents of one precious girl.
Our daughter’s last Thursday at school as an only child.
Our last Mommy-Daughter Starbucks date before a little sister arrives. . .
And I catch myself staring at my daughter in wonderment as she tells me tall tales or eats her dinner or sleeps so peacefully. I relish every giggle, every smile, every time her eyes light up with excitement at the mention of the imminent arrival of her sister. I find myself in a state of slowing down and soaking it all in.
Karen Kingsbury wrote a wonderful children’s book, entitled Let Me Hold You Longer. In it, she writes:
At some point Tyler ran to me and jumped into my arms like that for the last time.
The very last time.
And that’s when it hit me. We spend our children’s days celebrating their firsts. First step, first tooth, first words. First day of kindergarten, first homecoming dance, first time behind the wheel. But somehow, along the way, we miss their lasts . . . for the most part, it’s impossible to know when a last-moment actually occurs. Nothing signals a mother to stop and notice the last time her little boy runs and jumps into her arms the way Austin – for now – still does.
Then I wondered a bit more, and Tyler came to mind again. Would I have held on longer if I’d known it was the last time?
A new beginning is on the horizon for our family; one that’s amazing and wonderful. A new adventure I can’t wait to embark upon. But we have to travel through this week of lasts before we get there, and even though this week of lasts is somewhat sad, it’s also profoundly beautiful. Every small detail is filled with meaning, and I don’t want to miss a single one.
The irony of this week is not lost on me. That in the midst of my own personal week of lasts, I’m also observing the greater story of a week of lasts. As I’ve read through the Scriptures detailing Jesus’ week of lasts, I’m trying to slow down and soak it all in as if I’m experiencing this familiar story for the first time. To take my time and place myself there – at the triumphal entry, in the temple, in the crowd when the Pharisees and Sadducees challenged him, when he talked with the disciples, at the Last Supper, in the garden – knowing every small detail is filled with meaning. Not wanting to miss a single one. I know on the other side of all the lasts of Jesus’ life is a new, wondrous beginning, but we have to walk through the week of lasts first.
And it, too, is profoundly beautiful.