Glitter-covered First of the Last


All that glitters…

Our dining table is a disaster. We bought it twenty years ago, when our family expanded from four to six. It has seen numerous dinners and holidays and homework projects. The finish is ruined. There are dots from markers and gouges from toddler flatware. If you look closely, you can see someone was upset about doing homework, and their vice-like grip on a pencil carved a few letters and numbers into the table.

There is a patch of varnish gone do to a spill of nail polish remover. And now, there is what looks like a pixie trail; the likes of fairy footsteps of silver and gold glitter, strolling across the table.

These are the hazards of having a daughter on the varsity cheer team: glitter, glue, poster boards and laughter late into the night, especially homecoming week.

For the umpteenth time, I scrubbed that table and ran the vacuum. It is almost impossible to get all the glitter up from the floor, off everyone’s shoes and from the table. I have found glitter tracks in every room of the house, into the basement, in the garage and in the car. I shudder to think how much glitter the dogs have consumed. I wonder: Do I leave a trail of glitter at the grocery store?

A few years ago, I would be fuming that once again the house looked like a glitter tornado blew through. But I have softened as I began to realize that this year, above the other years, is different.

It is the “First of the Last.”

Our last child is a senior in high school, and each “First of the Last” is hitting me. I guess that is obvious when I don’t get upset that the house sparkles from glitter, not from a good scrubbing.

My epiphany began earlier this fall when I filled out an emergency card for the school office. I remember the year I had writer’s cramp after filling out four sets of cards for four kids with almost identical information for four different schools. I remember thinking “two more years of doing this” and “one more year of doing that.”

And now, this is my “last year of doing that.”

The last year of high school choir concerts, football games and shopping for homecoming dresses. The last year to chaperone at dances or drive on field trips.

I won’t lie – there have been challenges throughout the school years. From chicken pox to hurt feelings to fighting over homework. From last-minute science fair projects and chiseling glue off the table, there were moments that were not all warm and fuzzy and Norman Rockwell-perfect.

There was a time that the noise level in the house had me thinking I'd lose my mind. Now I wonder if the quiet will. Click To Tweet

But as I set in motion to clean the glitter today, my eyes began to water. The hard work of getting most of the shimmery stuff off of every piece of furniture and the floors was daunting, just as daunting as it was to herd four kids off to school. There was a time that the noise level in the house had me thinking I’d lose my mind. Now I wonder if the quiet will.

In time, the glitter will be completely gone, just as these school years.

But as a wander around a quiet house, preparing for the next phase of life, I know that the memories will behave just as the glitter – they will work their way back to the surface. I will always have a fond memory of glitter and glue and crayons and markers. And those shiny spots that pop up will remind me of the days of hustle and bustle and memory making.

One day, I may re-finish the table. Or just get a new one. Or maybe not. Maybe I will leave it as it is, marred and glittery, as a reminder of the smiles and laughter and enjoying every moment, even if the moment is a “First of the Last.”

© Lynne Cobb – 2014

Do you have special memories of your “First of the Last?” Share in the comment section!



13 Replies to “Glitter-covered First of the Last”

  1. Great post, Lynne. I felt the same way through Nate’s senior year of high school … everything was “the last” in bold relief. But what really got me was the time I pinned the boutonniere to his lapel as we posed for mother and son photos on the afternoon of his wedding. Not long after that moment, he would be crossing the threshold to real adulthood, with a wife. All the prom photos of the past were dress rehearsals for that moment. Parenthood is a wonderful, amazing gift — and what a journey!

  2. Terrific post, Lynne. You really described your “First of the Last” in great detail. It made me reflect back (yes, I can still remember) to when my 3 made it through school. My last was the roughest as we saw the “empty nest” situation headed out way. We survived, they survived and now we have grandchildren.
    I am sure you are very proud of your children’s accomplishments, as well you should be. You did a great job! Enjoy the moments and busyness now as you will have plenty of time for rest later!

  3. Lynne, what a fantastic post! I’ve finally reached this stage, as well. I suspect I have many more years of glitter and glue to come, as my kids span from five to fifteen, we too have noticed these “lasts” over the past year. The last stroller given away, those pair of pants finally made it through all four girls AND their brother, and the biggest yet in our lives – the last of five kids to enter kindergarten!! Now, mind you, when my oldest went I wept the entire three hours she was gone, but by the last this September I was the first parent to run to her car right after drop off. It was different, still, knowing it was the last time. Your post has given me a peek at my much sought after future, of a little peace and quiet. There is hope!

  4. Pingback: Embrace the change - Lynne CobbLynne Cobb

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