The LAST Time
OK….so maybe it wasn’t a roach. Maybe it was one of the dozens of Geckos that inhabit our home? Maybe it was termites? Regardless, imagine our surprise when I reached into the cupboard to pull out our token of decorations for Thanksgiving in Tropical hot wonderland (that feels nothing like fall or Thanksgiving) to discover this:
OH dear! And then the childhood stories emerged. These little salt and pepper figures had been with us since Jacob and Nathaniel were wee little lads. They always graced out table in the fall. Many a vegetable was swallowed under the magical distraction of Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim coming to “life” and having little “conversations” and they would even “fight” and “kiss” and “run” all around the table. It’s funny how something so small and silly can be so nostalgically important.
We had a little burial service for Mrs. Pilgrim. Where only the 2 younger boys, the dogs and the camera were present for. Oh yes, and Mr. Pilgrim was looking on.
Jacob is an inch from passing me up. Aubrey is 1.5 years from flying from the nest. Andrew is hot on his heals and Nathaniel is trying to survive being the youngest of 3 brothers who are trying to grow him up.
I’ve been struck lately with the words from this poem entitled, THE LAST TIME
From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
you will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before,
When you have freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.
You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feedings and burping,
Nappy changes and crying,
Whining and fighting,
Naps or a lack of naps,
It might seem like a never-ending cycle.
But don’t forget …
There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed
your baby for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.
One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake to this.
One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus”
and do all the actions,
Then never sing them that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face.
They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.
The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
Until there are no more times.
And even then, it will take you a while to realize.
So while you are living in these times,
remember there are only so many of them
and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them.
For one last time.
And so with our roach eaten childhood memories and boys slipping into young adults before my eyes…..I am very aware that many “last times” are surrounding me right now. I’m determined to enjoy this season and absorb as much as I can…..because magical moments of raising 4 boys in a distant land are my ever present reality. From boy odor, to eyes caught across a room, to dirty soccer socks strewn on the living room floor, to laughter at our table, to A’s and D’s and everything in between, to “Thanks for the food Mom”, to “I love you”, to a spontaneous hug, to parrots in the house and needing to be picked up from soccer practice…..I’m going to enjoy it because it might be the last time soon.
(The bowl is full of mulberries. Lovely in frozen smoothies or muffins or as a hot fruit sauce over toast and peanut butter. At last my trees are producing!!!!)