September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

First or last

By Natalie Schmitt- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

When the kids were little we celebrated their firsts - first smile, first tooth, first steps, first birthday, first day of school. As the kids have grown, we are now celebrating the lasts - last day of school, last 4-H state fair show, last football game, last Christmas school concert, and last high school graduation. I feel like we are celebrating the first of lasts and the last of firsts. It kind of sounds like the opening line in Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, ... it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair." It is being both happy and sad at the same time for the same event. Here are a few examples to explain what I mean.
I took our annual first day of school picture with Austin grinning from ear to ear as he starts his senior year in high school. This will be the last first day of school picture I get to take. Over the years, the first day of school picture was our standard Christmas card picture. Four little Schmitts standing in a row at the end of the driveway, backpacks stuffed with new supplies slung over their shoulders, waiting for the bus to whisk them away to school. I think Ernie's route ran a little long that day as mothers snapped back to school pictures before releasing their children from the summer chore routine and moving them back into the school routine. Flipping through the photo album, it is fun watching the kids grow from year to year; how Jonathon stood head and shoulders above the rest and how they caught up and passed him.
For many years, Jonathon was our tallest child. As fast as he grew, we just knew he was going to be well over six feet tall. Well, he didn't make the mark, but his younger brothers both passed him up. I think I discovered the scientific reasoning behind this occurrence. I'm sorry, Jonathon, but I didn't drink enough milk when I was pregnant with you.
Results published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition show teenagers are generally taller if their mothers drank at least 150 ml of milk a day. That is a smidge over a half a cup of milk a day. Researchers tracked babies born to 809 women in Denmark in 1988 and 1989. They monitored how much milk the mothers consumed during their pregnancy. Babies were measured and weighed at birth and again 20 years later. Researchers discovered children born to women who drank milk were more likely to be taller when teenagers. When I was pregnant with Jonathon I craved cheeseburgers at 10:30 every morning after my radio shift was over. With Michael, I ate Mexican foods. No wonder he is always hopping around like a Mexican jumping bean. By the time Austin came along, I was cleaning up the food and milk left behind by three little kids. I couldn't let the food go to waste. I must have had more than 150 ml of milk a day with Austin judging by his height.
The collage of senior pictures on our living room wall will be complete this fall when we hang the last senior picture in the collection. Austin has patiently waited for his portrait to hang in testimony to his graduation alongside his brothers and sister. Mark's senior picture still hangs with his siblings in the hallway of his parent's home. My senior picture is still displayed at my parent's home as well. Senior pictures are kind of like the first day of school pictures marking the beginning of a new year so you can look back to see how far you have come. Another way of looking at senior pictures is like a passport to adulthood. An account of what you looked like when you started on this new adventure of college, career and life.
The State Fair was filled with firsts and lasts for our crew. Katie closed out her 4-H career on Saturday afternoon as she promenaded around the ring with Carnation for the last time. One less pair of show whites to wash next season. As the door closed on Katie's showing career, Michael and Austin opened the door to showing in the Open Show and extending their stay at the State Fair during the extremely hot weather. It was a miracle the cattle came back to our barn without missing a beat. Michael did a great job taking care of the cattle. He has learned well over the years. Showing cattle has been a great opportunity for the kids, but as they get older and careers take a higher priority the show string will eventually retire for awhile.
Mark showed all through his 4-H career and into his early 20s. The last time Mark showed was the first time we met. He showed a heifer named Thrill at the District Holstein Show and retired for the next ten years until our children were old enough to handle the animals. Another day filled with firsts and lasts.[[In-content Ad]]


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