In The Mommy Zone Column

My Last First Date

I’m an expert in the art of procrastination.

As a busy mother of six, I’ve perfected this uncommon skill over the years by only performing life tasks that were absolutely necessary with my limited parenting time, while reluctantly relegating my mothering to-do wish list to a future day.

Instead, I spent many marvelous mommy moments tending to infants, toddlers, and teens, tirelessly cooking and cleaning, tackling unending laundry piles, helping in school classrooms, driving carpool, and shuttling kids to sports practices, Scouts, ballet, and piano lessons.

Yet, my endless to-do wish list remained untouched for extended periods of procrastination, shifting from week to week, month to month, and somehow, year to year, while I reveled in the mommy zone.

This ambitious list included well-intentioned notions of organizing every closet, rotating and maintaining our food storage, finishing the family scrapbooks, catching up on my reading, boxing up yet another missionary son’s belongings. I had visions of neatly stacked and labeled photo books and the like, the stuff of whimsical mothering fantasies.

Now it seems I have inadvertently added another item to my wistful to-do list…my last first date.

I’ve been on hundreds of dates in the past 25 years of marriage. However, first dates are momentous—and I’m due for another one. As usual, my stalling has kicked in.

In our family, we have a tradition of reserving our children’s first dates for parents. As each child turns 16, the respective parent plans each first date. I’ve been blessed to have experienced three first dates with my three oldest sons.

Our fourth and youngest son turned 16 weeks ago, but we’ve yet to reserve a night for this treasured tradition. It’s not that I don’t want to take him. It’s just that this will be my final first date, as our youngest two daughters will get to experience their first dates with my husband.

This will be my last first date. Ever.

Cue procrastination.

Of course I want to go. But if I do, I’ll never get another opportunity such as this. I’ve run out of sons. A last first date means that my fourth child is slowly slipping away, growing older, and in a few short years, he will leave our home all too soon, following in the footsteps of his older brothers.

It’s a bittersweet dilemma. I’ve only three children left. Half of them are gone, as my oldest is away at college and our next two eldest sons are serving church missions in faraway lands.

I want to stop time, to slow this process as much as possible, savoring each fleeting moment I have left. My children are growing at an ever increasing pace and I’m dragging my feet, with my wistful to-do wish list fully intact.

We mothers invest so much of ourselves into our children. Unfortunately, precious time isn’t on our side. We selflessly give, forgoing our interests, pleasures, sleep, and even our own wish lists in dedicating our lives to the worthy pursuit of our children’s well-being. And then, all too soon, they are gone, but our lists somehow remain.

I knew this day would eventually come, and it has, three times. Now, my hand is forced once again and I’ve procrastinated long enough.

I guess I must schedule my last first date, that once-in-a-lifetime rite of passage for me and my son. But at least I get to cross one thing off my mothering to-do wish list, and that is procrastination progress at its finest!

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