So many last times

There are so many last times when you raise children. This week, my 3.5 year old has definitively given up napping. Although I have been prepared for this for a while, what has struck me is that I have had my last time of napping next to her. There won’t be another time when I get into her bed, next to her small form curled up, eyes closed and breathing softly, safe and cosy together. And I had no idea it would be the last time. That precious piece of raising her is finished.

There are many firsts when you are raising a child. First steps. First words. First birthday party. First day at school. First Saturday playing at a friend’s house. First sports match. First music lesson. First dance concert. First school trip. First sleepover. These are all exciting events in a child’s world, terrifying and bittersweet moments in a parent’s. But there are also so many lasts, and we just don’t know when they will happen.

There will be a last time for everything. A last time for nursing. A last time for reading a bedtime story. A last time for being woken in the night. A last cuddle. A last time for checking on them asleep in their bed. A last grazed knee. A last afternoon snack around the table. A last time for bathing them. A last time for holding their hands as they cross the road. A last time they ask you to help them do colouring. A last time they sleep in your home as their home. A last… a last…

I had a small cry over the end of naps with Sophie. It’s not that I want them to continue, or that the times the two of us slept side by side were lacking in some way, or that I don’t want my child to grow up, or that there weren’t many reasons why I sometimes had to decline her request, ‘Stay with me, mummy’. It’s that I never knew the last one would be the last one.

Parents, cherish all the moments your child gives to you. You never know when it will be the last time.