This morning was cold. As I rolled out of bed at my new normal time of 4 AM, I realized that chill in the air wasn’t due to the overhead ceiling fan being on. I blindly opened the closet, trying to stay quiet, as the little one had come to our bed during the night and was sleeping soundly. I reached for the empty space where my long, fuzzy robe usually hangs, only to find it gone – suddenly remembering how “on top of it” I was yesterday when I decided to wash it. My hand veered slightly to the right to grab my old robe – at least 9 years old – and put that on. As I snuck out of our room and headed to my workspace, the loft, I found myself tying the robe, realizing it was a bit smaller than I remembered. In an effort to adjust it, I pushed my hands into my pockets and pulled out a green binky.
How can an inanimate object such as a pacifier bring back such memories?
For the life of me, I couldn’t remember the last time I wore this robe. It was obviously 3 or so years ago. Maybe longer. The binky was a 3-6 month size, not the bigger size she moved into. Clara was a binky addict. So much so, that we had to prep her before our trip to Alaska this past summer telling her that the “Binky Fairy” would be paying her a visit to take her binky to a new baby somewhere in the world. Clara took that in stride. I’m shocked to say, it actually worked.
As a young child, she was particular about which binky she had. She always seemed to have a special attachment to her green binky. I would search high and low to find duplicates of the green binky for the times when she lost one.
Evidently, we had lost one in the pocket of my robe.
But it made me wonder. How do you know when it’s the last first time? How do you know that was the last time she was ever going to use that binky? It’s clearly loved, as there are little chew marks (her obsession around 14 months old). When I put it in my pocket, it wasn’t out of malice. I wasn’t trying to hide it. I simply put it in a place that was rarely used, probably in my exhausted stupor of young toddler sleeping habits.
It begs to wonder how often that happens daily. You think back to a moment, realizing at a later date that you no longer experience something. How were you to know that it was the last time you would do that?
And how would that change the way you react or treat it? Would you pause, reflect, and appreciate it? Sometimes it’s clear. Like this year being Ethan’s last first day of school as he headed off for his senior year. That one I was mentally prepared for.
I know this year will be a rough one, as far as school. Ethan’s “last first” everything.
But when your kids are growing up and changing so rapidly, you don’t always capture those last first moments. I was so overjoyed when Clara became potty trained – yet, thinking about it now, I can’t remember the last time I changed a diaper. Is that weird? She’s my only baby and I will never do that again. Yet something that was so ingrained in my daily life is now over and I can’t recall the last time. When was the last time I carried her in the baby carrier? When was the last time I had to get up to get her from her crib?
I wish I could say that I am ahead of it all – I have it figured out. Like a “How To” to remember all those last first times. I’d be a success. But as a parent, daughter, sister, friend….I just have to try to be more aware and present in the moments I am in, if that makes sense. Appreciate what you have when you have it. In a way, you never really know when that moment is the last first time you have. When that moment may become something very special.
As for me? I’ll take that chewed up, too small, binky and look at it, holding back the tears as I remember how small she was. I’ll set it in my nightstand for who knows what reason, and I’ll go and snuggle that big baby girl. Because who knows when she will stop coming to our bed at night. And I want to remember those days as best I can.