Current Musings · Perspective

The Last Time

The other day I was in our basement and I looked at a stack of bins with toys our kids used to play with years ago. At one time these toys were spread across the house and played with on a daily basis. Even though they were picked up each night, the next day they would again be spread across the floor. I stared at the bins and wondered, “When was the last time our kids played with those toys?”

There was a moment somewhere that I could not remember — the moment when one night certain toys were packed up for the night and never played with again. I wondered why I couldn’t remember that last time. It was a poignant moment to see those toys stowed and idle in those bins.

So much of life is about firsts. I remember so many of our kid’s firsts — taking their first steps, their first birthday, their first day of school, and losing their first tooth. It seems we’re good at celebrating firsts, but for some reason those lasts feel a little heavier. We may celebrate the last day of school with our kids, but deep down we know they’re moving closer to high school graduation.

Then there are the lasts we don’t quite expect — those last times we see someone. Now that I’m well into my second half century of life, it seems there are too many of these moments to count. Some I vividly recall, even down to the last conversation I had with them. We did not know it at the time, but it would be the last time we would see each other.

Life is full of uncertainty and we don’t know what the future will bring. As I look at those bins of toys, it reminds me to cherish each moment, whether it’s playing with your kids or grandkids or the neighbors kids. Take that extra minute to hug a friend or family member and tell them how much they mean to you. Do your best to leave your goodbyes to people on a positive note. And relish the new moments when the toy bins are opened again for visiting kids and toys are once again spread across the floor.

© 2021, CGThelen

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