Nearly a quarter-century ago, Dawn and I began our lives together. Actually, I had just moved into her apartment, so, at the time, we may not have realized that we were beginning our lives together.
The next year we were parents. And a year after that we officially began our lives together when we became husband and wife.
As new parents, we couldn't have been more nervous and, at the same time, more excited. We looked forward to what lay before us, even though we truly had no idea what that was.
In the early days, there were so many firsts. It felt like we were always celebrating one. The first tooth, the first crawl, the first walk, the first words, the first day of school.
The first broken bone, the first trip to the emergency room, the first broken heart. All parts of being a parent.
I know it's cliché but I can't believe how fast we went from the first day of kindergarten to the first car to the first day of college to the first grandchild. Don't blink.
This morning, our youngest daughter, Makenzy started her senior year of high school. We have spent more than two decades celebrating firsts. Now, it's time to celebrate a year of lasts, starting with the last first day of school.
Even though Makenzy isn't totally certain (yet) where she will begin college next fall, this was our last summer together. Sure, she'll be around next summer, but she's growing up. She'll be 18 before then, and she won't be our little girl anymore. She has a part-time job. She's also a volunteer cheer coach. She has a car. So, yes, sometimes she spends her time doing what she wants to do.
The last first day of school. The last Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthday. The last spring break. The last back-to-school night. The last school dance. As emotional as I have been over the past couple of weeks (I'm hoping to get through the rest of the day without reaching for tissue) I can't imagine what this next year is going to be like. One day at a time.
Makenzy isn't beginning the end of her childhood alone. I get just as choked up when I see her friends, Dom and Alisa. Dawn and I have watched these girls grow up together since elementary school. Again, don't blink.
Our oldest daughter, Emily, is getting married soon. And Makenzy is now a Senior in High School. I'm excited for their futures, but oh what I wouldn't give for a pause button! The dichotomy of being a parent, I guess