The Last First Time

066Three nights ago, we tipped off our holiday reverie with something perfect for a mama who is post-op, on painkillers and in PJ’s…

An absolutely magical outdoor drive-thru light display.

Okay, okay magical is overstating it a bit.

Especially when you consider that the bigs nearly had a knockdown, drag-out brawl over the car seat that had the clearest view of the movie. Sophie HAD to pee at the precise moment we were past the point of no return. And lil’ Maddie lost her stuff which created a snowball effect wherein we all nearly lost ours.

Just praise the Lord and deck those halls.

And yet?

Even with a mind-numbing prelude, the moment we reached the entrance, something mama sob-worthy welled up inside me.

It could have been the painkillers or the hormones or the sheer joy of making it to the blooming lights. But whatever it was, I took one look at Maddie and tears began to fall. Somewhere in my heart I recognized something written in her dancing eyes…

This was the last first time.

The last first time I would see one of my babies quieted by a million twinkly lights. The last first time I would hear little a “WOOOW!” every time something new came around the corner. The last first time a tiny hand would grab my own just for the reassurance that I was there should things turn from magical to scary.

The. Last. First. Time.

How had I missed it?

It had happened before…

Her first Christmas. Her first step. Her first birthday.

How had it passed me by without even a single pause?

And then I stood back and remembered our year together…

A year of hiccups and face-plants and what-in-the-worlds. A year where this mama was less than she wanted to be. A year where all the things you are supposed to have together were not.

And yet?

This was a year still filled with love and laughter and sticky-faced kisses. This was a year where Jesus had met us in all the shattered and broken places. This was a year where we had been carried and loved by so many.

This was a year that had been beautifully given.

And it is why somewhere in the twinkly lights and hum of the mini-van I went from a quiet grief to another mama sob-worthy place…

A place where you are grateful for sweet time. A place where you live for another day to say “I love you.” A place where you stand quietly in all the festive crazy and smile through your tears.

Because even when you show up post-op, drugged up and dressed down, you are still there to watch little faces light up, listen to little voices say “Wow!” and hold little hands…

One. More. Time.

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