My oldest is about to start football. Not the non-tackle, flag variety, but the no-kidding, full-on kind that required a fitting of shoulder pads, helmets and a uniform.
When we went in to the gym for his fitting, I could barely breathe. When did he grow up? When did he get hair on his chest and wear shoes bigger than my husband? Was I looking? I cannot seem to remember it all.
And, I caught myself wondering…If I had known that certain things were the last time, would I have done any of them differently?
If I had known the last time he willingly came into cuddle, would I have insisted he stay longer?
If I had known the last time he wanted me to hold his hand, would I have hung on a little longer?
If I had known the last time he ran into my open arms, would I have taken a better picture in my mind as his happy little face smiled and shined with love for his mom?
If I had known the last time I needed to cut up his food, would I have been more patient and cut slower to make it last longer?
If I had known the last time he would need me to help him up on the chair, would I have placed him in my lap instead?
If I had known the last time we watched Sponge Bob together, would I have let him stay up an extra 30 minutes to watch just one more?
If I had known the last time he needed my help building his Lego designs, would I have deliberately watched his face dream big longer?
Don’t get me wrong. He’s an amazing young man, and I absolutely could not be ANY luckier. But, even though he is right here in front of me, I miss the moments when I was the center of his world. I miss him running to me when he wanted or needed something. I miss him willingly hugging me because in my arms is where he found comfort and solace. I miss him asking me for help and wanting my hand around his for every moment of the day because it’s what made him happy.
I know in my mind that I can’t go back. I cannot slow time down or relive special moments a second time except through videos and pictures, and my stockpile of memories.
But my heart? It is a hot mess of desperation right now as I watch my oldest…my first born…enter into this new stage of his life.
I have to confess that this first time of uniform fittings and team tryouts…I was allowed to watch, and participate, and a parent was required this first year. So, I dragged it out.
Just in case the first time was also the last time.