Endings and beginnings. We love them most of the times we come across them in stories. We are excited that the hero has conquered the challenge and everything is happily ever after.

Those stories usually have a beginning, middle, and then an end. But our stories do not.  We have many beginnings, a whole lot of middles, and lots of endings; not all are happy.

So why am I writing that title with a preference to order the Lasts before the Firsts?

The mythical Phoenix has to die before it can rise from the ashes. We like rebirth, the ideal of starting fresh and new, without all of the scars and painful memories. The best part of any story only begins when it seems to be the hardest.

I have a lot of Lasts today – Last day of school for the kids. Specifically, The Teen graduates from high school. Little Miss will no longer be in elementary school.

This post is a last of sorts as I’ve been wrestling with writing THE LETTER to my own father as I’ve been thinking of my time so far as a Dad. I say last post because I feel my own ashes around me, well an older version of me.  A version where I didn’t understand some things that are starting to appear differently. Vague enough yet?  I’ll get to that later.

Just know that for every Last in my life over the next few days I can feel these ashes settling on what I knew.  The future was always dark – most times we fear the darkness because it’s unknown. If it were a room with no lights on, we only would go in there if we absolutely had to. WHAT IF I TRIP OVER FURNITURE?!  WHAT IF THERE IS A MONSTER!?

We fear what we don’t know and with so many Lasts this past month, I don’t know what the future looks like. But I don’t fear it.

<I just typed that line and tears welled up>

You see, these lasts mean some chapters are just being written.  The story continues.  The hope will still be there. The Teen starts his path into his future, a future full of opportunity and pain and love. The Warrior continues his spiraling transition from boy-child to man-child. And my Little Miss starts her independence and finding her own identity.

YES, IT IS FREAKING SCARY…but anything of worth in our lives should have some healthy fear to it. What if they fail? What if they get hurt?

But what if they succeed? What if they learn? What if they experience? What if they find happiness? What if they find passion? What if they learn to love?

I have failed. I have been hurt, and have hurt others. And from those ashes of the past I will continue to rise over and over, if only to seek the truth and the light in myself. My kids have taught me so much over the years, I can only focus on learning more and more to be the Dad they have taught me how to be.

Lasts have to happen and it shouldn’t be a sad event. Lasts mean there are new Firsts. First loves, First kisses, First time to look at the world with new eyes.

To Lasts and the best Firsts, cheers.