Last Monday we'll sleep in..
Last time the boys will play all day in our pool.
Last time the morning will begin with "Hey! Do you want to go catch toads?" followed by "Yeah! Then ride bikes?" "YEAH!" before they even have pants on or eaten their Wheaties (or Rice Krispies..)
Last library story time.
Last time I'll get groceries with all 3 kids in the cart, leaving hardly any room for the things I "need".
Last time I'll have help unloading the dishwasher during the day.
Last time for lunch picnics on the deck.
Last time the boys argue over which song to listen to in the car - "D-I-S-C-O" or "Pop Goes the Weasel" are the current debates.
Last time I wake up to giggling boys "sneaking" up to my room to wake me by pouncing a baby kitty (or 8) on my bed.
Last time I'll contemplate if 10 AM is too early for nap time...
Oh I know these things will happen again.. There are school breaks, Christmas break, and of course weekends.. sweet, glorious weekends... But it's just never the same. It's hard to compete with these every day carefree, seemingly never ending days of summer.
All these 'lasts' have been making my heavy heart painfully aware of the steady passing of time. The evidence is everywhere. The outgrown sneakers haphazardly tossed in a pile on the porch, the faded muddy handprint on the door from last spring that has just been too cute to scrub off ever since, the swapping out of baby swings to big boy swings, trikes to bikes, and fat bats with plastic balls to metal bats and real baseballs. My babies are growing up. The evidence surrounds me, nearly suffocating me at times.
It's the fear of the unknown that is tugging at my heart the most. The unknown ways in which the boys will change between this summer and next.
What if Charlie outgrows his toad obsession? (not likely.. but still)
What if Nolan figures out that Captain Blackbeard really doesn't sneak into our house at night and during naptimes to leave them surprises or hide their snacks with a trail of "gold" leading to them?
What if the boys are too old for the same story time we've been going to every single Friday for the entire 3 years we've lived here? (Ok.. I think they already are technically too old, but I rationalize that since we're the only ones who have faithfully been there since Day 1, we've basically been grandfathered in.. right?)
What if they're not entertained for hours by the simplicity of baby kitties?
What if the boys decide they don't want to play basketballsoccerfootballwrestling in the kitchen while I'm tripping over them trying to make supper anymore?
What if Nolan thinks Curious George and The Cat in the Hat are 'baby' shows next year?
What if our pool is too small for them to enjoy so much?
What if they don't find joy in riding their Gator around all afternoon, picking me those annoying white "flowers" growing all over our yard?
What if they think they are old enough to have an opinion on wanting to *gasp* cut their hair short?
What if they're too old for the kiddie rides at the fair?
and the most devastating...
What if they grow out of being Best Buds?
All these "what if's" have been creeping into my mind and invading my thoughts this week. They have been staring me in the face, taunting me, teasing me, threatening to take away my joy and contentment during this precious last week of summer freedom with my boys.
Until I realized.. I have faced this before. I have conquered this before. It's really not so different than what I have already been through with Ella. The fear of the unknown. That difficult place between here and a distant 'then.' When you know all the things you hope and plan to happen aren't necessarily the things that are going to happen. Where you know the destination you want to arrive at, but the road map is nothing more than a blurry gray ink blot.
I am thankful for the lessons Ella's life has taught me this past year. We cannot dwell too much on the past, nor can worrying about our unknown future change anything.
We only have today. We only have right now. To live. To enjoy. To love.
To spend wistful days surrounded by the ones we love, enjoying God's blessings and reveling in His goodness.
So we do what we do...
Preparing for the future
Yet living for today.