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I distinctly remember that moment, 12 years ago, when I plunked my final diaper purchase onto the conveyor belt at Wal-Mart.
My 2-year-old daughter was potty-trained, and I had decided that after she finished one more pack of diapers, I would let her wear undies.
I etched the moment into my mind because I knew it was a milestone in life.
There are many “last times” that go unnoticed when you are parenting, but because she was my last child, I did my best to pay attention and burn those moments into my memory.
Fast forward eight years.
My “last” child was nearly 10 when her baby sister came along, followed closely by a baby brother.
I distinctly remember that moment when I plunked the first pack of newborn diapers onto the conveyor belt at Wal-mart and thought, “What on earth am I doing?!”
“Baby” boy will be 4 years old in December, and I’m beginning to think I will be buying diapers for my grandchildren before he is potty-trained.
But he is so cute and sweet that I don’t mind terribly.
This is definitely my last child, and so I am cherishing each and every little moment. And I’m trying to pay attention and take note when something happens for the last time.
For example, last week he came up to give me a hug, but it wasn’t just any hug.
It was a full throttle hug followed by complete and total limpness. He spent a good two minutes with his arms around my neck and his little body pressed against me, just letting me hold him.
Then he ran off to play.
It had been a long time since he’d hugged me like that, and so I etched the moment into my memory, just in case it was the last time.
I don’t know when he quit kissing his siblings goodnight by pushing his lips through the railing on the stairs. I don’t remember when he started saying “choo-choo train” instead of “boo-boo brain.”
And I can’t for the life of me tell you when he stopped doing a half-hop/skip and gained the ability to run.
I remember all of his first moments: first step, first tooth, first words. But those last moments are much more elusive.
We rarely capture them on the video camera, or document them in the baby book because we simply don’t know they are happening.
But when I do recognize them, I make it a point to remember.
Last week, I kissed my 90-year-old grandmother goodbye for the last time.
As of this writing, she has not passed yet, but it is unlikely that I will have the opportunity to see her again before she does.
I pressed my lips to her forehead and savored the moment, drinking in her very essence.
I whispered, “Goodbye, Grandma. I love you.” To my surprise, she whispered back, “I love you too.”
If Grandma were able to get around, my son would be potty-trained. I remember hearing a story about her 5-year-old nephew who refused to go to the potty.
His parents thought he was beyond hope.
But one day, when it came time to change his poopy pants, my grandma took him outside and cleaned him up with cold water and her old straw broom. From that moment on, he used the bathroom.
It’s not a method I recommend, but it’s a story too funny not to share! Things were definitely different in the 1940s.
As life cycles on, I become increasingly aware that each moment, good or bad, should be cherished.
Because every moment that passes will add up to the sum total of your life.
There are days that I will time to stop, just for a few moments.
Just let me get off right here and relish the sights, sounds and emotions for a wee bit longer, and then the clock can continue to move forward.
But that is not possible, so I try my hardest to make my brain remember the details as they are happening.
Time is a giant tapestry, and I am but one little thread.
One tiny little thread that sincerely hopes she will soon be buying diapers again for the very last time.
Ginger is an author, speaker and mother of five. Her award-winning column appears weekly across Indiana and Kentucky. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.gingertruitt.com.