During the hazy, sleepy plane ride home from Oregon on Sunday, my thoughts turned from my amazing time with The Tribe to my re-entry back into the life that was waiting for me. And my stream of consciousness led me to a pool of angst:There are only eight more days of school…. if the weather is nice perhaps Chase and I will walk tomorrow… graduation is in about a week… Chase is graduating from elementary school… at some point in the next eight days, it will be the LAST time I walk a child of mine to school.
My heart started beating faster as the imminent milestone came sharply into view, knowing that soon the innocent days of grammar school will be behind us. Forever.
Whereas Noah gets all the “firsts” full of anxiety, angst and expectations, Chase gets all the “lasts,” laden with bitter sweetness and nostalgia. My clenched jaw from Noah’s first day of kindergarten has softened considerably over the years, only to melt away into a sad smile as Chase brings up the rear.
As usual, I met the realization that something is ending with a profound sense of obligation. I must savor this moment, make the most of this time, and somehow capture the essence of what is being lost.
I have never figured out quite how to do this correctly.
Do I walk him to school differently in these waning days? Do I slow down? Do I gaze more longingly at my beautiful child of whom I am so proud already? Do I take yet another photograph of the back of his head as he takes the lead? None of these actions or meditations will capture this time any better. I will not remember it more vividly nor create any opportunities to experience it again no matter what I do.
Sometimes it feels unfair to know about the “last time.”
After all, are we not completely unaware of most of the “last times” in our life even as they are occurring? You can not replicate the exact circumstances of any instance, so isn’t everything a last time?The last time we will have sushi as a family in June when I am 42 years old… The last time the boys will go to camp when they are both still shorter than I am… The last time I will write about last times on Mothers of Brothers…
And then, of course, are the last times that matter. The last time we see someone. The last time we say “I love you.” The last time we hear a voice. Knowing that reality is being vaporized into memory without my permission leaves me preferring to be blissfully ignorant about all future last times.
I prefer to pretend that there are no last times. Even though we all know that time doesn’t last.