Last month, I attended Daughter’s high school guitar concert. She performed in two works with her advancing guitar class, and a trio with her two best friends ( a song that they wrote). As I sat snapping pictures and videos, a realization came to me: this would probably be the last musical concert my daughter would ever appear in. For senior year, guitar is, I think, her fourth choice of an elective- she just wants other things more. I had a brief flashback to the very first holiday concert in kindergarten, the first recorder concert in third grade, and now, Junior year, the last concert.
And them I thought of an outing back in April. We had always attended the Brooklyn Botanic Garden cherry blossom festival as a family. Until last year. The festival is usually the last week of April, and by daughter was unable to go last year because she had too much studying for the AP World exam. Similar to this year when she couldn’t go because she had too much studying for this years AP’s. And next year, when she will again have too much studying for AP exams. When we went to cherry blossoms a few years ago, I didn’t realize that it was the last time we would go as a family.
I’ve spent 16 1/2 years documenting firsts: tooth, haircut, school, performances. Now I’ve reached the other side: time to start documenting lasts. The problem is, sometimes you don’t realize that something is the “last”. In your mind you keep thinking that something will last forever, but we all know, nothing lasts forever.
I still remember taking my daughter to pre school for the first time. I shed a little tear as her tiny pink clad body walked up the steps to our local elementary school. In September, I will photograph my daughter for the first day of school, in her carefully curated outfit, her tennis racket and backpack by her side. Thirteen years later, I will shed another tear. Or more likely, buckets of them. Because I know it will be the last first day of school that I will be there to document.
Kids grow up too fast. Life goes by too fast. I know I’m being totally maudlin and clichéd, but really appreciate things as they are happening. Remember the sight, the smell, the feel, the sound of things you experience. Hold tight to the feeling. It’s moments like these that make tough times a little better. It’s moments like these that make you persevere. It’ moments like these that make up a well lived life.