Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

“Love, you might want to get a picture of this. It could be the last time.” What is my six-foot-four husband feeling so sentimental about? I follow him into the kitchen to see our 2-year-old daughter sound asleep in her high chair.

On close inspection, I spy the speck of white yogurt hiding in her hair and the soggy crackers slowly absorbing strawberry juice on her tray. Stepping back though, I gaze at our beautiful fifth child, her head resting on her left shoulder and uncut blonde hair circling her face. When she’s asleep, she still looks more like a baby and less like a toddler.

I see and I know.

I see exactly what my husband wants me to see and I know his precise meaning. The bittersweetness of the moment fills me, and flashbacks of our older children dance in my head . . . 

The one who fell asleep in his spaghetti.

The bowl worn like a hat as messy oatmeal spilled down the sides of his face.

All five shared the same first food—homemade applesauce.

Those questions of boundaries—what do we do when he throws his food on the floor? When she refuses to try it?

Our toddler whose blueberries made truck noises.

These and so many more memories catch me in the current of time while I beg time to stand still—just for a moment—just long enough for me to see so that I can remember.

I know the days were long, but where did they go?

And will this be the last time she falls asleep in her high chair? Is this the last time I gingerly lift her out and try to transfer her to her crib without waking her?

We never know the last time a child will climb in bed in the middle of the night because of a bad dream. No one warns us that this is the last time we’ll be called “Mommy” or “Mama” before our name changes to “Mom”.

Maybe we look forward to the last diaper change and the day we get to leave behind the diaper bag. We’re eager to reclaim the kitchen counter space after the bottles are put away, and we anticipate setting a vase full of flowers on the coffee table again without worrying that a child will break it.

But we usually don’t get to choose when the last will be and we often don’t see it coming. We only view it in hindsight.

RELATED: Let Me Love You a Little More, Before You’re Not Little Anymore – 5 Ways to Cherish Your Child Right Now

When I was a girl, I’d pause, study a scene in front of me, and close my eyes. I’d try to imagine everything I’d just seen and create a mental picture.

Now, I grab my phone and take a picture. Actually, I take seven pictures—from all different angles—and I don’t plan to delete any of them. I don’t care if we’re being sentimental . . . because we don’t know. It could be the last time.

But I don’t just take pictures. I do the same thing I did as a girl, only I do it with words. I pause, close my eyes, and try to recreate these life moments unfolding in the lives of my family around me. I stop and write what I see because I want to remember.

And because I don’t trust my memory and I don’t know the future, I leave my words along with the photos, because I don’t know. It could be the last time.

You may also like:

The Nights Are So Long

This Mama Didn’t Know It Would Be The Last Time

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Katie Faris

Katie Faris is married to Scott, and her greatest works in progress are their five children ages 2 to 13. She is the author of Loving My Children: Embracing Biblical Motherhood. You can read more of Katie’s words on her blog.

I Promise to Show Up for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter in garden

My child, I hope you know you can count on this: I will show up for you. I will show up when you wake in the middle of the night, when you get up too early or stay up too late. I will be there to make your meals, read you a story, and tuck you into bed. I will show up when you are sick—taking time off work, bringing you to the doctor, cleaning up your throw-up, and sitting up with you. I will show up at every game, sitting in the stands or a camp chair, freezing or...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Growth Is Tangible, and When It Is You Hold On Tight

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom putting bike helmet on child

I never expected my sign to come in the form of a plastic bag. As a parent, you’re told over and over how fast it all goes, to cherish these times because they’re gone in a blink. You see the gradual changes in your kids as they move through milestones. One day, they can hold their own spoon. They begin stringing words into sentences. Their ages are counted in years and no longer months. You watch these things happen every day, but I didn’t realize some transitions would come in tangible ways, like a grocery bag filled with wet swim...

Keep Reading

Some Nights They Need You a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sleeping, color photo

Some nights they need you a little more, mama. Because of the bad dreams or the bogeyman they are adamant is under the bed. Because firefighter daddy’s schedule leaves him missing goodnight tuck-ins and bedtime stories several times a week, sometimes leaving them a little needier and more emotional. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. RELATED: I’ll Lay With You As Long As You Need, My Child Because they are sick. Because they feel safe in your presence. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. It’s not always easy. It’s not always (okay, hardly ever)...

Keep Reading

Sweet Babies, I’ll Be There

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two children lying in bed, color photo

When your world is calm and peaceful, I’ll be there. When your world is chaotic like an ice cream shop on the hottest day of summer, I’ll be there. When you need a Band-Aid applied and a boo-boo kissed, I’ll be there. When you want to perform in your Frozen microphone like you’re performing for a crowd of 20,000 people, I’ll be there. When you feel lost and alone, I’ll be there. When you feel you have nowhere to go, I’ll be there. RELATED: I Will Always Be There When You Need Me, My Son When you need a pep...

Keep Reading

I’m in the Big Little Years

In: Kids, Motherhood
black and white photo of little boy and little girl standing in a window together

I’m in the big little years. It’s when you’re no longer in the tender season of babies and toddlers—those sweet, smothering, exhausting years of being constantly touched and needed . . . . . . but you’re not yet in the big kid years—navigating boyfriends and driver’s licenses and bracing your heart for the impending ache of an empty nest. I’m somewhere in between. I’m in the years of having littles that aren’t so little anymore, but still need you for so much. They have big feelings. Big ideas. Big dreams. But they have mostly little problems (even though they...

Keep Reading

1-Year-Olds Are Wonderful

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
1 year old baby smiling

Newborns—who doesn’t love them?  The captivating scent of a brand new baby, their fragile little bodies laying so delicately on your chest. Everything that comes with a newborn baby is just absolute magic. But have you ever had a 1-year-old? I used to think the newborn phase was my favorite, nothing could ever be better than having such a tiny helpless little human rely on you for absolutely everything. I could hold my newborn for hours, soaking in every tiny little detail before it became nothing but a beautifully distant memory. But I’ve realized it’s 1-year-olds who have a special...

Keep Reading

My Kids Are All in School Now and It’s a Little Lonely

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman looking out window alone

I had just dropped my children off at school. All of them. My youngest has just started full-time. It was my first full day on my own since she began, and I had really been looking forward to it, so I took myself into town to do a bit of shopping and grab a coffee. Just me. The kind of days dreams are made of, right? I could suddenly breathe again.  I only had myself to answer to.  I got my latte and something to eat. And then I cried.  My eyes filled with tears as I sat in the...

Keep Reading

I Love You Even When I Say I Don’t

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter touch foreheads

“I love you even when I say I don’t.” These words came out of nowhere from my 5-year-old. I was standing in the bathroom with her (we still don’t like to go potty without mommy standing right there), and she wouldn’t look at me while talking to me. You see, my 5-year-old and I have been in more spouts than ever before. She’s found this new attitude in her first couple months of kindergarten, coming home with new phrases including, “No, I don’t want to–you do it.” It hurts my heart, makes me frustrated, and leaves me asking myself where...

Keep Reading

Big Questions at Bedtime Don’t Require Perfect Answers

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and child at bedtime

Last night at bedtime, my son asked why everyone has to die one day. The thought of my sweet 7-year-old grappling with the weight of such a question hurt my heart. He looked so small tucked under a fleece blanket, clutching his favorite stuffed panda. How could the same little boy who just started second grade wearing a space backpack stuffed with bright, wide-ruled notebooks ask such a thing?  Perhaps my children are more aware of the inevitability of death than other kids their age due to the passing of various family pets over the past few years, or perhaps...

Keep Reading

If Someone Needs a Friend, Be a Friend

In: Friendship, Kids, Motherhood
Three kids with backpacks, color photo

“If someone needs a friend, be a friend” it’s the running joke in our family. My husband will say the phrase to our four kids when discussing certain life situations in a lovingly mocking type way. They’ll all look at me and chuckle. I giggle a little myself at the corniness of it. But I always add, “It’s true.” It’s a phrase I’ve used more times than I can count. To teach them all to be includers—the kind of kids who look for the kid having a bad day and seek to brighten it, the kind of kids who stand...

Keep Reading