When my sons were born I recorded everything – first smiles, first foods, first words, first steps. Everything was photographed and written down so I’d never forget.
We do that, us parents. We want to remember everything and to this day I still look back and it makes me smile to see those images and words. It’s the one piece of advice all new parents are given: record everything and take more pictures than you think are necessary because the time flies by faster than you’ll ever realize.
Dear New Parents: Why You Need To Stop Stressing About Sleep
Heed it because it’s true. Those baby toes you nibbled while doing endless diaper changes will grow into smelly feet you no longer recognize, and it will happen in the blink of an eye.
But there’s advice nobody ever gave me so I’m going to give it to you now:
Always be on the lookout for the “lasts.” The lasts are devious. A last will sneak up on you and you have no idea it is gone until weeks or months have passed and by then it’s too late. It's gone forever and you didn’t even realize it happened.
The last time he holds your hand.
The last time she quietly, or not so quietly, slips into your bed.
The last time you cuddle with her on the couch when she’s home sick.
The last time you walk your kids to school.
The last time you get to pick out their clothes.
There are the swing pushes and trips to the park that will disappear.
The field trips your child once begged you to come on? A distant memory.
The play dates you organized based on which moms you liked best will be replaced by school kids you may or may not know.
Bathtime play is swapped for showers behind closed, locked doors.
Oh, it's not all doom and gloom. These lasts get replaced with other things like late night conversations, watching your young kids grow into amazing human beings, and learning what makes them tick. Self-sufficiency makes family vacations more about bonding than simply surviving. He may shower on his own but when he has a problem, he'll still come to you. And your little girl will become a teen who needs your advice.
But always, always hold those hugs a little bit longer than you should because there will come a day when you go to wrap your arms around your kids and they will deftly duck out of the way.
The lasts are devious like that.