Celebrating "Lasts"

I’ve been celebrating “lasts” ever since my third child was born. The last bottle. The last diaper. The last first day of kindergarten. The last baby tooth.
Lately it has been bigger things. The last day of middle school. The last braces to be removed. The last child to become a licensed driver.
So when our dentist informed me that child number three needed his wisdom teeth out, I threw my arms in the air with a big “Woo-hoo!”
He looked at me kind of funny. “I always celebrate the ‘lasts’,” I told him. He asked if I really celebrated or if I forced myself to celebrate so that I wouldn’t mourn my children growing up. No, I assured him, I truly celebrate.
He thought I was kind of odd. I get that a lot. Especially from mothers who weep with every last thing the last child does. But I can’t make myself go there. These children came to me with a purpose: for me to care for and raise them so that they could go out into the world and be independent and productive adults, hopefully sold out to the kingdom of God and following hard after Him.
Will I miss them? Ten years ago I wouldn’t have imagined it, but yes, I’ll miss them. In fact, I have a feeling that last graduation will be the first really hard “last.” But would I want them back? No. I want them to move forward, to find their place in the world. And because I know the Lord isn’t finished using me when my day-to-day duties as Mom end, I look forward to whatever hovers on the horizon of our empty nest. But there are two more years to go until then.
For today, we celebrate no more wisdom teeth with milkshakes and movies. And we check yet another “last” off our list.