Remember the Last Time?

A new school year begins today. The beginning of the end of a season in my life.

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My son, a high school senior, is the youngest of three children. So this school year is filled with many last things….

·         Last first day of school with yours truly photographing my son on the front porch.

·         Last soccer season with yours truly shoving cleats next to the wall to keep from tripping over them.

·         Last time for Back-to-School Night, Homecoming, Spirit Week, Spring Formal.

I kept baby books for all my children, documenting the first time they ate solid food, took their first step, or lost a tooth.

I never realized when something happened in their lives for “the last time.”  

Like brushing one’s teeth, a bedtime story was a ritual for my children. Long after they could read on their own, we took turns reading pages from chapter books. But there’s still a bookmark in Eldest, where I closed the book and said goodnight to my youngest son years ago, not knowing it was the last time we’d read together.

Now I know, every date  that I scratch off my school calendar is one day closer to the last day of school, forever, and then what?

Who am I? If not, “my kid’s” mom?

What is my purpose if not running to the store at the last minute to buy poster board for a project? Why set the alarm clock, if no one needs breakfast or a peanut butter sandwich for a school lunch? Where do I go for entertainment if not a field trip, soccer game, or a choir concert?


Long gone is the excitement of newly purchased school supplies: the smell of fresh crayons, plastic lunch boxes, glue sticks, and wide-lined paper.

A backpack laden with textbooks, a duffle bag for sports gear, and a smart phone are my son’s school accessories.

We hug goodbye, and he leaves for school, his mind elsewhere.

I wipe wet eyes, envisioning him in a blue, graduation cap and gown.

Wasn’t it yesterday when his name was printed in bold letters on an apple name tag, and hung with yarn around his neck?

Like the other moms in the classroom, I had hovered over my kindergarten child,  hesitant to say goodbye when he looked up at me and spoke matter-of-fact, “You can go now.”

Fast forward to his senior year, and I’m still trying to go…

And I’m missing him, because today is the “last” first day of school, the end of a season in my life.


“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Author: Karen Foster

I'd like to say I've changed, but after decades of living, I still have the same four passions. My relationship with Jesus, spending time with family, attending live theater, and writing devotions & first-person stories about a loving, faithful God who reveals Himself in our every day circumstances.

16 thoughts on “Remember the Last Time?”

  1. I can’t view things from a “last time” perspective– I’m too melancholy already by nature! In fact, my heart and mind are working overtime to block out all the “last” times I’m dealing with just this week.


  2. You made me cry!!! I’ve had this discussion with myself many times over my son’s life! I think when we’re willing to ask (maybe I should say…when “I’m” willing to ask), He’s willing to show us who we are when certain labels are pulled off…kind of like a bandaid, eh?
    Thanks, Karen for the reminder of who I am!


    1. Now you are making me teary-eyed …. one mom to another. You said it right…”when our labels are pulled off.” I know I’m a new creature in Christ. I have plenty to keep my occupied and fulfilled, but…’s difficult letting go of people, and some seasons of life. Thanks for responding.


  3. So sad! I’m in the same boat this year, Karen. My youngest (of four) is a senior this year. I feel like I’ve been preparing for this, though, ever since my first one left for college. It will be a different life, but still a good life. But oh, aren’t we blessed to have had all those years with them?


    1. That’s a great way of looking at it Barb, Instead of bemoaning the loss, being thankful for the memories we made. And that makes our cups overflowing rather than half empty.


  4. Trust me Karen…though you feel the heaviness of those “last” moments, God gives you amazing new “first” moments that will blow you away! Life seems to be a series of trade offs. And whenever I think I’m getting shortchanged in the exchange, God proves me wrong! I can’t wait to hear how He blesses you in this new chapter right around the corner:)


    1. Okay, I’m waiting to be blown away……..And I know that without a school routine, my husband and I will have more freedom to pursue those new chapters of grand adventures. FYI, the secretary at my son’s school told me I can keep volunteering there forever. So I told her, “Don’t worry. I’m in a sentimental mood today. By June, I may be ready to say goodbye to the educational system.” 🙂


  5. Remember one Thanksgiving when I said at the heavily laden dinner table: This is our last Thanksgiving together as a family? I think it was, wasn’t it? That was many years ago but I still remember it and how it felt knowing the end of an era had begun. Tough!!


  6. Don’t worry Karen, they never stop completely. And then come the grandkids and all there firsts and last first. God is good! He knows how us moms so love these times, and we almost need them to feel complete.


    1. Thank you for the encouraging words. You’re right, mothers are designed to love and nurture our families long past the empty nest. And there will be many firsts….but I have always been actively involved in my children’s education. Whether it was six years of home school, or volunteering at their school, it’s been a way of life for 23 years! I guess I’m a teacher/student at heart.


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