Three thoughts jump to my mind when I hear this word, last.
No. Not acceptable. Work harder. Work smarter. Study more. Train more. First place. Top of the class. 99th percentile. Last means you're doing something wrong. To whom much is given, much is required.
These thoughts are imbedded so deeply into my soul that it still cringes when I compare myself with others. Just this morning, I made my husband breakfast. Not because of kindness, but because I needed to make up for being the last adult out of bed every morning this week. I don't do last. I don't always come across as competitive, but take me out of the athletic arena and I'll compete, silently, with you on just about anything else.
Then there's the last time. The last time I walked through my Church Hill house. The last time I drove through Knoxville. The last time I scratched my dogs behind their ears. The last time I drove either of our cars before they got smashed in Atlanta. I tend to dwell on lasts... and sometimes I dwell so much in memories that I forget to live in the present.
And that brings me to this: the last child. The child that is yet to exist in this world, but that is being planned for and calculated about and sometimes debated about. (I will not have another September baby! I refuse!) I'm going to be a basket case. Poor kid... with Ladybug, anything she did for the last time would be followed quickly by her sister. Yes, it sends a twinge through my heart when she decides that she can go down the big slide by herself, but I still have Turkey to slide with, and swing in the baby swing. And as she crawls all over and I miss the stationary bouncy seat days, I comfort myself with the thought that there will be another floppy infant who can't quite coordinate hands with mind.
But assuming we are blessed with one more... am I going to be so troubled by the last of everything that I end up a tearful mother rather than a joyful mother? Or will I have the opposite problem? Will I be so overwhelmed by the challenge of 3 that I miss noticing those last times?
It's a fine line to walk, between first and last. Overly competitive and apathetic. Prideful and lazy. Melancholy and flighty. Mournful and frantic.
Contentment. Contentment to be right where I am, surrounded by the people I am, doing the things I am. Whether I'm in first or last place, doing a task for the first or last time, doing it with the first or last child, or the one in the middle... grant me grace to be content in whatever state I am.
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