They never announce the last time.
In trying to teach my first-grade daughter, the last-born one we call the Strawberry on Top of the Sundae, not to kiss me on the lips, I suggested “mommy spots instead”. I had begun to feel self-conscious when she gave me an innocent peck on the lips in front of others. Pointing to my cheeks, I playfully recommended that she give me kisses on the "mommy spots" there. The plan backfired, and now I get kisses on my cheeks, my forehead, my nose, my chin, and finally, with relish… my lips. It has become a Grand Ceremony.
Today I was at her school for a meeting, and had promised to drop by for a kiss before I left campus. An assistant brought her out to me, and the kisses began. As always, they ended with the trumpet note on the lips.
I looked around sheepishly at the secretary who was smiling at us and watching the whole happy routine. After saying my goodbyes to my sweet one, I explained to the kind older lady our little ritual gone viral. She looked at me and said quietly, “Enjoy it while she wants to do it.” Then, flashing like a lighthouse in the fog, the thought came to me, They never announce the last time. The last mommy spots, the last piggy back ride, the last “help me with my shin guards,” the last “come see my bubble beard” at bath time.
Strawberry Girl can kiss me on the lips if she wants to. Last times come all too soon.