When was the Last Time… You Did Something for the First Time?

The end of the school year is upon us and life has been full of ceremonies, band performances, dances, and other celebrations. In anticipation of a busy weekend, I was preparing Blueberry Cobbler.

I wanted to have a dessert prepared not only to have some sweetness to celebrate our kids’ achievements, but also to welcome an overnight visitor planning to come stay with us for the weekend.

I heard the piano music as I worked busily in the kitchen measuring, mixing and baking. Our son, Zach was practicing the song he planned to perform for his last piano recital after 12 years. Music has been present in our home since I married my husband. It is a gift of life from his heart, a gift that is living on in the hearts of our children.

After placing the cobbler in the oven, I headed to the living room to take a break and listen to the song again. He played it and played it again. Turning to look at me, he spoke the words, “This will be the last time I play in my piano recital, Mom.” He will be graduating from high school at the end of this month. His words and his face told me that he notices the transition taking place. “Yes, Zach. It will be the last time you perform.” I notice too.

His words carried the weight of the truth. I listened with my heart wide open, as he continued to speak, “There are a lot of last times for me this month, Mom. My last prom, my last AP tests, my last piano recital, my last day in high school.”

With each word I could feel the roots in my mother’s heart being tenderly and gently prodded in preparation for his departure for college in the fall. I have been in this place of transition before, with his older brothers, first Grant and then Dustin. Like his brothers before him, the space in my heart that holds him with mother’s arms is opening wider for Love to take him further onto his path of becoming a man.

I feel the space opening as the “lasts” continue to unfold this month, not only for him but our other three children as well. They are each on a road departing from what was to what will be.

And so am I. My heart is changing as the spaces left open by the ‘last times’ are preparing me for new ‘first times.’

This past weekend was the date for Zach’s piano recital. Our weekend visitor arrived and joined us in watching and listening. Zach was listed as the last performer, the oldest and most seasoned. His teacher stood and honored him with words and tears that told me she too is letting go in a different way. She invited him up to the stage. He spread three sheets of music out in front of him and took his seat on the piano bench. I was ready for his song. I knew it well… “Desperado” by the Eagles. His fingers began to play and the tears welled in my eyes. Our visitor sitting to my left touched my shoulder with the gentleness and kindness of God. Her touch was unexpected. She took my I-phone and began videoing our son for me…a gift of space so I could fully enjoy the goodness of the moment. I was unprepared, as was his teacher, for what happened next. Right in the middle of a heart moving rendition of “Desperado” he paused. I discerned a spry smile on his face as his fingers began moving at breakneck speed and the notes of two “boogie-woogie” songs sprang forth loudly as if to insist that we all join him in celebrating his upcoming freedom.   He then returned to his original song and finished strong. It was the last time he performed as a piano student, and the first time he performed as a risk-taking young man.

There is another man I know and love that would take a risk like that. He is my husband. I am forever thankful for the life, hope and party that he has seeded in our children’s lives through his music.

After staying with our family for a night and spending precious time with me rocking on my front porch, sharing conversation and eating cobbler, our visitor is no longer a visitor, but a new friend of my heart and my family…a new friendship birthed during a ‘last time.’

Yes. Without the ‘last times’ there can be no birthing of ‘first times.’ I raise my heart in thanks for the memories of the ‘last times’ and in hope for the ‘first times’.

I got this recipe years ago while picking blueberries with our children at a blueberry farm here in Texas. It is a recipe from a grandmother other than my own. It has become a family favorite. Enjoy!


Madell’s Blueberry Cobbler

1 stick butter or ‘oleo’
1 cup Bisquick
1 cup sugar
2 cups blueberries
1 cup water

 Melt oleo in 2 qt. casserole.
Mix Bisquick, water and sugar
Pour over oleo. Add blueberries  by dropping on top of mix.
Bake @ 325° till browned (45 minutes give or take)

Ellen Oelsen lives in the Texas Hill Country with her husband of 24 years. She is a mother of 4 children and loves their 2 dogs and 1 cat. Her hobbies include cooking, nature, reading, plays, and two stepping. She delights in offering hospitality of the heart and creating spaces of care, rest, play and reflection to inspire hope. She is beginning to expose the writer within her.