I was riding my kids around to some errands last week, and I heard a song by Brad Paisley where he sings about the last time for everything.”
For a minute, I found it kind of morbid, and I felt sad.
“Last call, last chance, last song, last dance—sometimes you just don’t know when that’s gonna be…cause there’s a last time for everything.”
The song references Little Jimmy Dickens and Prince, two musical icons in different genres who passed away. I almost changed the station, but who doesn’t need a good catharsis now and then? I had mine for a moment, then walked into the grocery store to buy tampons for what, I can assure you, wasn’t the last time.
That afternoon, my kids and I were playing. I spent time with my son building a new track with his wooden trains. As we pushed Thomas, Rosie, and James around our new layout, it hit me. Would this be the last time he was interested enough in these little toys to ask me to help him build with them? Would I soon be packing up his little upcycled toddler-bed-turned-train-table and handing down the Thomas trains?
Thanks, Brad. I wasn’t thinking about all this until I heard your song today. We did, however, build a heck of a track. It was my best ever. Just in case, since there’s a last time for everything.
Once I finished building with my son, I headed over to my daughter’s room to help her with her doll house for her 18 inch dolls. We made it two summers ago out of two tall bookshelves from Wal-Mart. I bracketed them together front to back and nailed the backing on the rear shelf. Once making a few adjustments to where the shelves rested, we had a three-story doll house for fifty bucks as opposed to $500.
Mic drop. I always congratulate myself whenever I walk into her room and see her playing with her shelf house. Today, however, all I could hear was Brad singing.
My daughter and I rearranged all the furniture we’d either made, repurposed, or found deeply reduced. I hung up all the cute doll clothes. We tried to figure out how to DIY an 18 inch doll toilet to go with the bathtub. I played with complete abandon because, well, there’s a last time for everything.
I sighed. I’ll be so sad when these kids stop playing with these toys I bought for me to play with for them. But this isn’t my first parenting rodeo, y’all. I’ve got two big kids who outgrew their toys long ago. In fact, we’re still playing with some of them. I know the last time for Thomas and for the American Girls is approaching all too quickly. I also know that the last time must happen to usher in something better. Old adventures give way to new stories. So, Brad—I AM going to change the station on you, even though I love your song. I’m letting go of the last time. I can’t wait for the next first.