I cannot find the book just now (and my Google Fu fails me), but in Elizabeth Berg's book 'Open House' the mother is going through her son's room, and she finds a book she used to read him when he was little. Countless times she read it to him, him sitting in her lap.
But of course, one of those times was the last time.
The character says she wishes she knew that the last time was going to be, truly, the last time, when it happened.
... I think about this often as my girls are bli ayin hara growing and changing and moving away from their little childhood.
(Example: I have decided Sroch is officially, now at age 9, graduated from 'young childhood.' What comes next is all tween and adolescence and other scary things, but she is officially done with Childhood, which means... we didn't mess it up. Shhhhhh... but like, goal accomplished, eh? Achievement unlocked - you didn't screw up your kid's early childhood! But I digress....)
I mean, the last times I nursed them, those I recognized as the last times pretty much.
And graduations from gan, yeah, I knew those were final.
But not much else is signaled as Last... until you look back, often years later, and go - oh. Oh. That was it.
When the babies were babies I sang to them every night, and lots of naps besides. When they got older there would be bedtimes without singing, but there were still lots.
Books, stories - those are rare now (they read their own books), but still occasional. Ditto saying shema with them; sometimes they say it on their own, sometimes they read it, and sometimes I still say it with Llama.
If they want singing, they will usually ask for a CD. Not for me.
(and to my shame, by the time they go to bed I'm usually so ready for them to go to bed, I don't volunteer)
Last night the girlies were a little fractious, and when I - with great relief - closed the bedroom door to do Ultra Grownup Things (translation = fold laundry), I was singing. The girls called me back and asked me to sing "something nice for us to listen to."
So I stood in the living room, folding countless uniform shirts and sizes 7-10 and 12-14 (!) tights - and I sang my girlies to sleep.
It may be the last time.
And that is a kind of sad, but it's also a little like my mental checkbox that Sroch finished being little without us breaking her: I can look back at all the times I did sing to them, and know I Did It Right. That stage may be over, but it was Accomplished, not just Finished.
Of course, I'm still crying onto my desk while I'm writing this.
(I cheer up as I recall last times I don't MIND being in the past- wiping comes to mind....)
There are lots of last times that will come soon, all the last times of Now, like we'll get to the last time I brush their hair out - the last time I help them in the shower - the last time I put their tights on them (that can be now, mmmkay girls??). And there are still first times, even if they are scarier (first times crossing streets ... first times babysitting for money... first times they drive (way in the future, thank God, they can't even always successfully eat with a fork)).
But it may be the last time I sing them to sleep after all.
... So, no pressure to give me grandkids, okay girls? Okay.