by Jenny Kleppe
There’s a country song by Brad Paisley called, “Last Time for Everything” in which Paisley sings about how the last time something occurs, we often do not realize it is for the last time.
And how true is that? These instances are tiny, little ‘last times’ that completely escape our attention, like the last time a child writes the letter “a” backwards, asks for help to zip a coat or put their shoes. I can’t recall the last time my daughter wanted her favorite book as a baby read to her or the last time I fed my son a bottle.
My son, now three, was quite the snuggler as a baby. He loved to fall asleep on my chest, and I loved it, too. I would lie on the couch for his entire nap time at the expense of dishes that needed doing, his older sister’s 400th request for Goodnight Moon, or any other “urgent task.” I loved his rhythmic breathing and his sweet-smelling baby breath. Well, I can’t tell you the last time that he did this. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you the last time he had a nap at home. Often we just do not realize it is the last time.
There is a line in Paisley’s song that says, “Getting woke up at 5 a.m. to see if Santa came…there’s a last time for everything…” Right now, in my parenting journey, it’s hard to imagine the last time my children run to the Christmas tree or stockings with bated breath. But this last time will come. The holidays are magical for preschoolers and young children. By hustling and bustling and focusing solely on our massive to-do lists, we may miss these “last times.” Sometimes there are things we must do with our children that are tedious or even painful such as; waiting for the three year-old to put his shoes on all by himself, honoring a request for reading That One Book I Really Hate but They Love, answering another question that starts with “Why…” But even these will have a last time- will you miss it? Will you know that it is the last time?
My suggestion this season is not that quaint adage of “enjoy every minute!” (because you won’t), but instead slow down and enjoy something special with your child. We get so caught up in what needs to get done and all the places we need to go that we do not make time for the little things. Go sledding. Make a snowman or five. Bake anything. Sing. Who knows? This may be the last time they get frosting in their hair while decorating cookies, the last time they break an ornament because they wanted to see it bounce, the last time that they ask what makes reindeer fly, the last time they scream from the car seat at the top of their lungs that THERE ARE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS OVER THERE!!! (By the way, all these things have happened to me in the last week). So take the time to enjoy some of these last times. Perhaps it will be the last year they believe in something magical. Or the last year you can take your babies go see their great-grandmother. Take time for people, not tasks.
Every now and then life throws us a do-over. Last weekend my son had way too much sugar at a holiday party, stayed up way too late, woke up way too early, and fell asleep while I was reading him a book on the couch. I pulled that little guy onto my chest and I treasured every second of what will most likely be the last time..
Treasure your 2017 Holiday Season. From all of us at All Seasons, Happy Holidays!