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LET ME HOLD YOU LONGER by Karen Kingsbury

Long ago you came to me., a miracle of firsts; First smiles and teeth and baby steps, a sunbeam on the burst. But one day you will move away and leave to me your past, And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts…

The last time that I held a bottle to your baby lips. The last time I lifted you and held you on my hip. The last night when you woke up crying, needing to be walked, When last you crawled up with your blanket, wanting to be rocked.

The last time when you ran to me, still small enough to hold. The last time that you said you’d marry me when you grew old. Precious, simple moments and bright flashes from your past— Would I have held on longer if I’d known they were your last?

Our last adventure in the park, your final midday nap. The last time when you wore your favorite faded baseball cap. Your last few hours of kindergarten, those last days of first grade, Your last at bat in Little League, last colored picture made.

I never said good-bye to all your yesterdays long passed. So what about tomorrow— will I recognize your lasts? The last time that you catch a frog in that old backyard pond. The last time that you run barefoot across our fresh-cut lawn. Silly, scattered images will represent your past. I keep on taking pictures, never quite sure of your lasts…..

The last time that I comb your hair or stop a pillow fight. The last time that I pray with you and tuck you in at night. The last time when we cuddle with a book, just me and you. The last time you jump in our bed and sleep between us two.

The last piano lesson, last vacation to the lake. Your last few weeks of middle school, last soccer goal you make. I look ahead and dream of days that haven’t come to pass. But as I do, I sometimes miss today’s sweet precious lasts…

The last time that I help you with a math or spelling test. The last time when I shout that yes, your room is still a mess. The last time that you need me for a ride from here to there. The last time that you spend the night with your old tattered bear.

My life keeps moving faster, stealing precious days that pass. I want to hold on longer--- want to recognize your lasts…

The last time that you need my help with the details of a dance. The last time that you ask me for advice about romance. The last time that you talk to me about your hopes and dreams. The last time that you wear a jersey for your high school team.

I’ve watched you grow and barely noticed seasons as they pass. If I could freeze the hands of time, I’d hold on to your lasts.

For come some bright fall morning, you’ll be going far away. College life will beckon in a brilliant sort of way. One last hug, one last good-bye, one quick and hurried kiss. One last time to understand just how much you’ll be missed. I’ll watch you leave and think how fast our time together passed.

Let me hold on longer, God, to every precious last.

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