Sometimes you have to begin by explaining the end. Last week, I joked to my husband that it was Little G’s last day of elementary school hot lunch, and he essentially told me not to start with that @#$%. (For the record, neither of the girls has ever had hot lunch regularly; I know they won’t eat food they don’t like, so they only got hot lunch on days when it was something they liked. Otherwise, sandwiches!) Okay, so I was being silly. We will still be dealing with school lunch, packed and hot, for many years to come. Either directly packing it or at least making sure there are lunch supplies.
But what other lasts are there this season? Today, Little G will get on the big yellow school bus for the last elementary school field trip. I don’t know about you, but middle school and high school field trips are intrinsically different somehow. I remember the “blue bird” vinyl seat in front of me, the titillating thought that we were somehow doing something wrong and getting away with it while ALL THE OTHER KIDS were in school. That feeling, when combined with hormones and other middle school drama, is entirely different somehow. There is a unity in elementary classrooms that later years don’t have.
Tomorrow night, Big G has her last orchestra concert at her high school. I know I’ll cry. The first time she played before an audience, it was a small recital when she was learning piano. Then she played “Beauty and the Beast” for a talent show at her school, and later got permission to play “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” for a Christmas concert at a retirement home. (The retired residents got the joke and everyone was laughing, no worries.) She didn’t start violin until she got to this high school, and it has been her one constant here. I hope she will keep it up in college, but I know she has a lot of plans so this is really my “one last chance” to see her like this. Big G gets so focused, so intent and into the music when she plays. She has a facility with the music that I certainly lack, and an appreciation for so many different types of music that it blows me away. If nothing else, I know that we have given her something special by making sure she’s had this opportunity.
Very rarely do we know when our “last time” with a child is. Last chance to hold hands crossing the street, last in-the-lap snuggle, last air-blown kiss as they leave our car in the drop-off zone. I think about my friends who have lost their children, who will never know the full range of “lasts” and didn’t have any warning at all that there could be such a thing. I am well aware of how blessed we are. I am also aware that these times are precious, that when we are able to foresee a “last time,” we should embrace and enjoy it, marking those moments for posterity just as we would the first smile, first steps, first day of school.
Thanks, Erica-- the book is "Let Me Hold You Longer" and it is part of why I remember to do this. :) It's a sweet book.