We tend to remember parenting “firsts.” The birth of a child, her first steps, the first time that he rides his bike without training wheels. These days, the memory of those firsts are aided by mobile phone video, never to be forgotten.
Lasts are more difficult to remember. We don’t usually know that this will be the last diaper we change, or that this will be the last time that we have to tie our child’s shoe.
Last Sunday evening, at the end of a long weekend of activities and hockey games and cookie baking and church, my 9-year-old and I were sitting on the couch, reading and listening to Christmas music as his older brother did homework. At some point, he laid his head on my lap and fell asleep. Shortly thereafter, I, too, fell asleep. An hour later, I awoke, and he was still sound asleep. He’s too big to carry, this rough-and-tumble hockey goalie, so I roused him to a state of about half-awake and directed him to his bed, helped him in, and covered him up.
And I thought to myself, I wonder if that’s the last time that one of my children will fall asleep on my lap. If so, it’s something that I will greatly miss, but a memory that I will deeply cherish.