He's the baby.
And so his firsts are also our lasts.
This morning I woke to this photo from "6 Years Ago Today." This dreamy sleepy baby.
I had captioned it, "Someone said Mama for the first time today."
My heart went both tight and squishy while I took in those words.
Because I remember the warmth I felt that day. I remember the joy of watching his little lips bounce together to make those sounds; and the delight in his own eyes as he proudly called me his.
But I don't remember realizing...
that it was the LAST first time I'd hear "Mama."
He was the baby of the family that day.
He's the baby of the family today.
Yesterday this baby, now six, played his first piano recital.
It was our LAST first recital.
While he sat eating breakfast he repeated, "Today's my FIRST piano recital." And when I picked him up from school, he said, "It's my FIRST recital today!" When he saw grandma, he ran and shouted again, "Today's my FIRST piano recital!"
He knew it. We all knew it. We took video. We took photos. We soaked every bit of it up with full knowing and thankful hearts.
So when this photo, the one of the sleeping baby, landed on my screen this morning, from the day he first said the name I treasure most, I realized...
how many firsts he's had these last six years, that have also been our family's lasts.
The last first wobbly steps.
The last first day of preschool.
The last first splash jumping into a puddle.
The last first time taking in the magic of a twinkling Christmas tree.
The last first time leaping into a pile of leaves.
The last first time making that shocked adorable face at the taste of lemon.
The last first time I was handed a stick figured family picture.
The last first game of t-ball.
The last first time I heard the echo "I love you" back.
The baby of the family is a journey of a million little last firsts.
Some of them slip by and go unnoticed in the moment.
I have no memory of the last first time this baby took a real bath in the tub. Or when the last first time came for that front tire swing to sail back and forth.
Some of them appear and have all my attention.
Like yesterday's piano recital. Or that last first day of kindergarten. Every cell in my body felt the tingle of alertness as I took those moments in.
But whether they slip by unannounced, or they arrive with great anticipation and recognition... my heart feels them.
Each last first is cherished.
Because this business of raising a family. It takes everything we've got and then some.
But we love it.
And this baby. The baby of the family...
He keeps us grateful. Even on the hard days.
Because we know all these firsts, are really our lasts.
He's the baby.