the last time.

Where My Heart ResidesI was in one of those moods. You know the kind, where you want to clean everything and scrub every surface and get rid of 100 things? Yeah that.

I set Everett up in the driveway with a bucket full of chalk and went to town on the car. One yoga mat, three pairs of shoes, two sweaters, an umbrella, forty Halloween candy wrappers and six sippy cups later, the backseat was relatively clean.

And then I saw it.

Our Ergo carrier was twisted under the seat as if it were being saved for a rainy day. I brought it inside to the laundry room for one last wash before it gets packed up with the rest of the baby gear.

Everett’s feet pitter-pattered behind me—the sound alone a reminder of his age and size. My baby isn’t a baby anymore, even though I still call him that. He takes up more than half my torso and outgrew his changing table a long time ago. I blinked and my baby became a little boy.

A little boy that no longer needs (or wants) to be strapped to my body in unison. This realization brought on a highlight reel of flashbacks: strolling grocery store aisles, walking through airport security, climbing mountains. I remembered one of the last times that I wore Everett in the Ergo. It was a weeknight in September and we had tickets to a baseball game. Something came up at work and Brett had to stay late, so I (bravely) took Everett by myself. Together we made our way through the scent of popcorn and crowds of people, as my little boy observed every detail in amazement. We lasted until the sixth inning and I was proud of us for making it that far. I strapped Ev back in the Ergo for the long walk to the car, his feet dangling below my waist. I wrapped my arms around him to hold him tight and he laid his head on my chest, an unusual (but always welcome) occurrence. It was a normal, average night. I’m almost positive it was a Monday.

You never know when something is going to be the last time, do you?

One minute something is part of the routine and the next it’s just a memory. You go from giving your baby three bottles a day to one a day, to one once in a while, to never again. Sometimes you phase it out strategically. Other times, the last time is a Very Big Deal, like the last time he breastfeeds or the last time he sleeps in the bassinet.

But often, perhaps even most of the time, these “last times” are slipping right through our fingertips unnoticed, overlooked until the minute you pull your Ergo carrier out from the backseat of your car and wonder, now how did that happen?

It’s bittersweet, this parenting gig.

Today, I’m finding solace in the hope that for every last time ahead of us, there’s a first time waiting on the other side.

Do you have a favorite “last time” memory? I’d love to hear it.
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27 Responses to the last time.

  1. Oh I love this…it’s so true, isn’t it?! It goes so fast, though I think I could still finagle Ethan into the Ergo…maybe.

    Definitely a sweet reminder to hold on to each moment, especially during this fleeting stage of life. Thanks for helping me remember to slow down.
    natasha {schue love}´s last blog post ..Homemade Acai Bowl

  2. What a beautiful reminder that any small, routine, ordinary moment could one day be a “last”. Even things like almost-3-yr-olds waking in the night and crawling into your bed. Reminds me to try to enjoy and savor it, however exhausting it may be! Lovely post.

    http://shelleysmucker.blogspot.com/
    Shelley Smucker´s last blog post ..Same skirt, six ways.

    • Ashlee says:

      Just tonight Brett said, “Won’t it be fun when Everett is 3 and gets scared and wants to sleep in bed with us??” Ha! There’s a first and last time for everything, right? 😉

  3. Amy says:

    Beautiful thoughts…so true how that happens.
    Amy´s last blog post ..What I Wore Wednesday 11.13.2013

  4. Pingback: Brick by brick, line by line « Barefooton45th Barefooton45th

  5. Lesley says:

    Love those photos…and love the reminder of how we often miss the last time.
    Lesley´s last blog post ..Brick by brick, line by line

  6. Holly says:

    This is so beautiful, Ashlee. This really got me thinking about “last times”. Lately what’s been on my mind, as my husband & I are getting closer and closer to starting a family, is when will all these things we do together be our last (with just us two). It makes me kind of sad, but also happy – knowing that there are going to be so many firsts 🙂
    Holly´s last blog post ..I’m Off Again!

  7. Anna says:

    Great post Ashlee!! This is why we have to live IN the moment:-) It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day crazy schedules. Having 4 boys makes it easy for me to want a day to be over but then I look at my youngest son and realize how fast he is growing up! Every once in awhile he decides he wants to climb in bed with us and I LOVE this now because I know one day soon he won’t want to do this.
    Anna´s last blog post ..Welcome to Annie & Isabel’s New Web Site and Store!

  8. Gina says:

    Those pictures of you and Everett are so precious! Kids really do grow up too fast.
    Gina´s last blog post ..{Currently} November

  9. Brynna says:

    Thanks for this. It was a much needed reminder as I, unshowered for days and so sleep deprived, bounce on the edge of my bed with my 8-week-old in our Ergo — the ONLY place he will sleep during the day right now. I know I will miss this and this post made me cry! Parenting is so hard, and the “last times” are even harder than the exhaustion. Smelling this sweet head one more time…

  10. Katie B. says:

    Love this, and often think the very same sentiment with Harper. Last time in that way-too-expensive dress that fit for 5 minutes. Last time in the bumbo. Last time laying under the jungle gym. Love holding on to these memories and thinking, like you said, of all the firsts ahead!
    Katie B.´s last blog post ..on remembering…

  11. Josie says:

    Beautiful shots and yes, this parenting thing certainly is full of bittersweet moments!

  12. Natalie says:

    Ok, Ashlee, I seriously *love* this. Especially “for every last time ahead of us, there’s a first time waiting on the other side”. Such a positive outlook that there are always better times ahead.
    Natalie´s last blog post ..Cinnamon Apple Steel Cut Oatmeal

  13. michelle says:

    I can feel this happening already and my baby is only 9 weeks old! Motherhood is such a gift, I love seeing her grow.
    michelle´s last blog post ..Cookbook Crush

  14. Kelly says:

    I’m having a baby in a few months, so I suppose I have many first times ahead… but many last times of “just me” as well 🙂
    Great post!
    Kelly´s last blog post ..Baby Shower

  15. ~Karrilee~ says:

    I love this… it is so sweet and tender, loving and true! Such a great reminder to stay present as much as we can because you just really never do know!

    My only/girlie graduated high school last year and so we had a year full (not to mention a couple of intense weeks there at the end) of Last times… thankfully – though it made us (kept us) emotional, we stayed present and noted each of them!

    And you are right… here we are… in the midst of a year filled with Firsts again!

    ~K~
    ~Karrilee~´s last blog post ..Encountering God? A #31Days Wrap Up

  16. Michelle says:

    Ashlee, I loved this because 1) I have the same ergo- such a great color huh? and 2) Im in a season where I can’t even imagine my little girl NOT in the ergo. We use it every day…some days more than I’d like, but I need to remember one day it *will* be the last time
    Michelle´s last blog post ..A Day In The Life

  17. Margarita says:

    Oh, this made me sigh. I too rarely use my Stokke baby carrier anymore – little man still fits it, at 18 months, on my back, but he’d rather walk or sit in the stroller or go in the shopping cart… I need to use it more before it’s too late!
    Margarita´s last blog post ..Giveaway with Diaries of an Essex Girl

  18. Callie says:

    Oh dear.. I read this post just after I put my 4 week old in his cot to sleep for the first time.. Cue the tears!! What a wonderful post Ashlee.. Thank you for always sharing such heartfelt moments and memories.. Xx

  19. Oh my gosh… you killed me with this. I think like this all. the. time. It’s a scary and beautiful way to think! Why does motherhood have to be so full of so many gut-wrenching firsts and lasts?
    Becca :: Making Room in Sicily´s last blog post ..a Sicilian tradition :: Timballo di Pasta alla Norma

  20. Clyde says:

    This is a great tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.
    Short but very precise info… Thank you for sharing this one.
    A must read post!
    Clyde´s last blog post ..Clyde

  21. Monica says:

    Oh I love this. I’m nearly 6 month pregnant with my first baby and I keep having to remind myself to stop rushing forward and planning ahead and to just enjoy each moment as it comes. I’ve heard so many people say the baby-stage passes by so quickly so I’m going to do my best to enjoy every moment before I get excited about the toddler stage.
    Monica´s last blog post ..My Christmas wish list and perfect presents for travel lovers

  22. Marie says:

    I am so glad I read this today! I am a new mom of twin girls and I am spending the week on my own while my husband is on a buisness trip. It’s a tough gig and I need to be reminded to enjoy even the tough moments as they will go by fast. Very touching!

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