The Last Time

I’ve often wondered how a person would react if she knew the last time she did something would be the last time.

I’ve often wondered if people knew the last time they did something, anything. would be the last time they ever did that thing.

I just put my Nannerpuss to bed for the last time.

I weep as I type this, just as I wept while I held that precious baby in my arms, long, lanky, and primarily appendage-y as ever, as the first time I put her to bed. I cradled her head to the left and supported her knees to the right, swaying just so, patting her back as I’ve done dozens of times over the last two years.

And I savored it. I committed to memory the way her downy thick curls cascaded over my forearm. I held her close and inhaled the smell of her wonderful head, a smell that has evolved but not changed since I met this Nanner twenty-five months ago. I kissed her wonderfully plump left cheek, a cheek that has also evolved, but is still as marvelously apple-shaped as it was the first time I kissed it. She was pocket-sized then, six pounds and some change and all of it in limb. I felt the heft of her weight in my arms and committed that to a memory along side her curls.

And I wept.

I will never again put that baby to bed. I will, in all honesty, put the child into which that baby evolves to bed at some point in the future. I will not let her escape me so easily. But I will never again hold my Nanner to my chest and sway her into the Land of Nod, patting her back in time to the white noise machine. It’s surreal and heart-breaking and gut-wrenching and every other innard-destroying metaphor available in the English language.

Tomorrow, her parents will return from their anniversary get-away, and we will celebrate our last holiday together as a family of circumstance and choosing, for awhile at least. We will celebrate other holidays together at some point in the future. I will not let them escape me so easily. But it will be different. It will be planned and itineraried. It will involve travel much longer than an hour. It will not be a given. It will not be expected. It will not be just the way we do it. This too is surreal and heart-breaking and gut-wrenching and every other innard-destroying metaphor available in the English language.

Because I will miss my friend. I will miss my sister. Not by birth mind you. This is better. This is a sister I chose, who chose me back. This is a sister who gets me, who loves me, who enjoys my company, all these things almost as much as I her. Except the getting part. She gets me so much better than I could ever do for her. And so, this is worse. This physical breaking up is physically painful. She’s not dumping me, we’re not leaving each other, but she is in fewer fingers than I have on one hand packing her car and this Nanner and moving half way across the country. She is leaving, and I am being left. I’ve never been this before, the leave-ee. I’ve been the leaver. This role sucks.

So tomorrow will be the last barbecue, the last cuddle, the last hugs and kisses, the last squeals of delight with this Nannerpuss I love so dearly.

Next time will be different. Next time will be with a new, older Nanner, a Nanner with further developed language skills and more intense world opinions. I do so look forward to meeting that Nanner. I want to know how she feels about this and that. I’m excited to see who and what she will be, and how many different letters are in her alphabet song. But I will miss my Nanner. I will miss how prominently she showcases the letter B. And I will very literally miss how my Nanner became that New Nanner.

I’ve witnessed every other Nanner-sition, from the fresh new nugget of human being to babbling, argumentative baby girl, from crawling adventerous discoverer of things to cruising, balancing agility act. I watched her go from wispy headed baby to curly-locked toddler almost overnight. I listened as Nanner-ese morphed into legitimate English. I participated in most of those coveted firsts. Before I see her again, she will pass through more Nanner-sitions; she will have more firsts. They will belong to someone else. They will not be mine. And while I understand rationally that these first will be as important and as equally prized to those lucky enough to participate, I am selfishly envious.

I will miss my Nanner. I will miss her mother.

I am still weeping.


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