It Was The Last Time

It's early in the morning, but I've already been up for an hour.  I finished my workout, probably showered, and am waiting with excited anticipation for the sounds of little voices at any moment. Finally as I finish brushing my teeth, I hear it.  

"Mommy" the little voice calls.  "Mommy where are you?"

Slowly and quietly, I open the door to peek my head in.  I meet two sets of eyes peering over the railings at me with grins as big the grinch, but much less grinch-like.  I turn on the lights and tiptoe my way in. 

"Good morning Rosie.  Good morning Reilly.  Did you sleep so nicely?" I say in my warmest, most nurturing whisper as I make my way back and forth to each crib.  I ask who wants to get changed first and wait for the first person to raise their arms up to be lifted.  And one at a time I lift them excitedly to start our day together, savoring my first snuggle of the day.  

Even after they learned to get out of their cribs (I mean, they've been able to for months), they only really escaped in times of agitation.  They never strayed from our morning routine of gentle hellos, morning kisses, and mommy come and get me.  It could easily be my favorite time of day.  

The past few weeks, my husband had a lot of out of town trips planned.  I had him go in first a couple of times because I know very well how special this job is - to be the one to get them up in the morning and see how overjoyed they are to see your face first.  I also sent my mom in to do it a few times because she was staying with me to help out, and I knew that she'd only be here for a few mornings.  I on the other hand do this every day.  I would be able to do it all summer.  It would be selfish to keep all of the special good mornings to myself, and I wanted everyone to get a chance to experience it and all its wonder.  

Suddenly, something happened.  One night I was sound asleep.  Nobody called for me.  Nobody made a sound.  The monitor didn't even light up.  I suddenly awoke to a shocking pitter patter shuffling into the room and quickly appearing at my bedside was my daughter who climbed herself in for the rest of the night.  Very strange.  She must have had a bad dream.  

This continued for several nights, and then in the mornings if she and her sister made it that long.  Instead of hearing them calling me from my morning workout room, I'd hear them helping themselves to toys in the dining room.  No cries for help.  No mommy come get me.  They did it themselves.  

Since this revelation of easy ins and outs, we of course converted to toddler beds.  We call them their big girl beds and it's been a great transition.  They love them.  They play nicely in them.  And a whole new world of watching them interact and explore their newfound freedom has been both adorable and fascinating.  Still, I can't help but cry a little inside because I know that yet another one of those phases and moments has died.  I will never get to be the one to greet my daughters good morning and help them out of their cribs again.

Here I was sending other people in to experience what is my favorite time of day thinking to myself, I can do this every day for forever.  If only I had known that the last time I got to sneak quietly in to "rescue" them from their cribs was going to be the last time, I certainly would have savored it a little bit longer.  I would have taken a video of their sweet faces as I walked in.  I would have stretched the conversation a bit more and squeezed them longer as I picked them up to start the day.  

Yes, I know it's just another milestone reached, and we have oh so many more to come, but my lesson has been learned.  Each diaper changed, each bottle drank, each tackle toothbrushing session... it's all going to end one day.  The kicker is, there is no set date or time.  It's not like a school calendar where it says "Last Day of ___"  It just comes out of nowhere and suddenly you can't remember the last time your child asked you to hold her.  You have to savor every moment like it might be the last time, because truth is, one of these times it will be. 

So I have a question for you, and it's gonna be deep.  How would you live your life differently if you knew it was the last time?  The last time for what?  You can tell me.  What would you do more of?  What would you wish to happen again?  Stop going through the motions of life assuming things will always be the same.  They won't be.  People grow and change.  Situations arise.  Things change.  

From now on, I'm going through life with a heck of a lot more awareness and intention.  I'm taking note of all the sweet toddler moments that I love.  I'm attempting to laugh at the not so sweet, as I know they too are a right of passage.  I'm jumping all in towards my goals, because I realize every single day counts.  Time is never stopping and the future is a mystery.  Take in today with everything you have.  You never know when it will be the last time.  

Signed, an emotional mommy,

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