Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Single Children: Both First and Last

This week on Planet Parenting, I'm focusing on Single Children - having one, being one, pros and cons, etc.

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I have a single child, a daughter, who is 13 years-old. When my daughter began kindergarten, I noticed for the first time that everything is Both a First and a Last.

As I walked with my daughter into that kindergarten room, it was the first time I had a child starting school. It was also the last.

When she began first grade, we were done with kindergarten forever.

I noticed this idea of First and Last dramatically when my daughter graduated from 6th grade. My daughter was done with elementary school. But so was I.

Many of my adult friendships have grown out of our children attending elementary school together. We parents would see each other at drop off or pick up; we'd volunteer at the same events; we'd hang out and laugh. But now, I was moving on. And most of them weren't. They had younger kids still at the school.

"First and Last" may sound a little sad. And it is. But it's also pretty amazing.

I get to go through every step with my daughter, as she goes through it. I don't need to divide my attention between 2nd grade talent shows and junior high acne. I can really focus on each step of childhood. Right now, we're all about choosing a high school (and the perfect hair straightener.)

My friend with identical twin girls says she has a similar feeling. Everything is a First and Last for them too, it just comes in a double package.

Sometimes I feel like I rush through life so fast that I forget the little things that are so very important, like sitting and talking and just being together.

When I have a First and Last moment, I'm reminded to slow down, savor every day. Today is a first, but it's also a last.


  1. Very well said. I had 2 daughters and always had a first, a second and last. The last was always momentus, I cried the first day of kindergarten for #2.

    1. I cried that first day of kindergarten too. Life transitions, like starting school, are emotional.

  2. I am right with you as the mom of an only, and trying to savor every first and last moment that I can. When things get contentious around here, I remind myself that in a few very short years he will be GONE, and my life will change so much.

    1. Agreed! I can't believe we will be "empty nesters" in 4 1/2 years. That feels very strange and upsetting.