It started the other day when I put Abe in the highchair and I realized that I was able to turn around, walk to the sink, and get his cup and he wasn't screaming. And I thought, "Wow! He's not screaming. Wait a minute...did he scream this morning at breakfast? Did he scream last night at dinner? Maybe he's done with the whole high chair tantrum thing? Have we seen the last of it?" And I had this moment of hope, that maybe this was going to get better.
This led me to think of what other little signs of progress may be occurring. And I realized, there was a pretty sizable list. For example, we no longer have to hold him to get him to sleep. One night, after we'd been home a couple of months, things were really crazy. So, Ryan just put him in the bed and he fell asleep. The next day I tried it at naptime, and he fell asleep again. Now, all I have to do is ask him if he wants to go night-night and he leads the way saying "ni-ni." I'm not sure what date was the last day that I rocked him to sleep, there wasn't anything remarkable about it at the time. But, I'm pretty sure we're finished with that- it's been several weeks.
Reflecting on these steps of progress with Abe has also reminded me of the changes in my other children and how quickly they come. I can remember fighting with Abby over hair brushing when she was a preschooler and wishing I could just shave her head. Now I can't recall the last time I brushed her hair. I'm not sure when it happened. I'm sure it was gradual, nothing notable about the last time I brushed her hair. I'm sure it was just a part of that day's busyness. I didn't realize that I wouldn't be needed for that task soon.
There are lots of other lasts I can think of. I'm completely unsure of when they happened or surely I would have taken a photo or jotted them down on the calendar. I can't remember the last time I tied Lizzy's shoes or zipped Isaac's pants or pushed Lily on the swing. It makes me so sad to think of those things. Sometimes I just ache with how fast they are growing and how very independent they are. Other times I am so very proud of the young people they're becoming and I am so thankful for their steady progress. It's a bittersweet sort of thing. It makes me want to be more attentive, to savor each moment as the days race by. I want to soak it all in, and yet the demands with which I live often prevent me from doing so.
I guess the best thing for me to do is to just be as present as I can be in the moments that I have. Being dilligent in what I have been called to do. Trusting these precious children to the Lord who created and loves them even more than I do. All the while, enjoying the firsts, reflecting on the lasts, and trusting God for the strength to juggle it all.