“Mom, can we wake up early tomorrow so you can curl my hair before school?” The night before her first day of high school, my 14-year-old surprised me by asking me to curl her hair. I haven’t been allowed near her hair in years

It’s not often we realize when we are experiencing our last with our children. 

The last time she reaches for your hand. 

The last time he calls you mommy. 

The last time you rock your daughter to sleep. 

The last time you get out of bed in the middle of the night to tuck him into bed after a nightmare. 

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The last time he lays his head in your lap, and you run your fingers through his hair.

The last time you read her a bedtime story. 

But that morning, as I gazed at her through the mirror and curl her hair, I was confident I was experiencing a last moment. 

She hasn’t asked me to help her with her hair since grade school. She’s the girl who’s in high demand during summer camp each year to braid all her bunkmate’s hair. 

Thanks to growing up with an iPhone, she’s been styling her hair far better than I could ever do for as long as I can remember. I often take my cues from her. Whatever straight iron she says is the best, I find myself using after seeing how great of a job she does. 

But that morning, she wanted me to curl her hair. 

Uncertain if I was up to the task, I tried reassuring her she’d do a great job. But she insisted, “No, mom, I want you to do it.”

Only the mom of a daughter growing up too fast (don’t they all?) would understand this moment. 

I doubt it was my savvy hot iron skills she was after that morning. 

Maybe it’s not just us moms who want to hold onto our children’s youth.

My 13-year-old still insists on being tucked in each night before I go to sleep. Even on weekends when I’m ready to retire with a book by 10 p.m., he’ll ask me to tuck him in. After we say our nightly prayers, he’ll follow me out of his room to go back to playing his video games. 

“I thought you were ready for bed? You asked me to tuck you in,” I inquire of him. 

“No, mom. My friends are still up playing Fortnite. I just wanted to make sure you had a chance to tuck me in before you fell asleep,” he says as if he doing me a favor. 

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He no longer calls me mama as he did just a short year ago. Every once in a while, he’ll throw in a ma’am when addressing me. 

I try to remember the sweetness of these moments and how I’ll miss even the mundane ones. 

Coming soon are the afternoons when she won’t need me to drive her to sports practice. 

He won’t ask me to make him a snack or his favorite dinner. 

She won’t be home to ask me to watch a show with her while she waits for her friends to be available. 

There won’t be socks lying around the floor covered in dog hair. 

Wet towels will no longer lay in a clump on the bathroom floor when I get out of the shower. 

He won’t need reminders to brush his teeth.

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She won’t need to be yelled at to get out of the shower after using up all the hot water.

The carpool lane will be a thing of our past.

Some of these things we moms nag, yell, and curse over. 

As I curled my daughter’s hair that morning before high school, I wondered if I ever considered styling her hair in the hectic mornings one more thing I couldn’t wait for her to be old enough to do one day? 

Possibly I’m more sentimental since the virus has forced all of us to slow down. As we start life back up again in a modified way, I can’t help but be grateful for the lasts.

Most of our lasts will come and go without us realizing it. But today, I’ll treasure curling her hair. 

Jen Smith

Jen writes at Grace for Single Parents to encourage single moms to live their best life with God’s grace and love. She’s a contributing author for Her View from Home, Grown & Flown, and Sammiches & Psych Meds. She currently lives in Kansas with her two teenagers and two dogs.