Luke 2016 BB 6As a mom, I’m in an interesting season of life as my middle child counts down the days until his 18th birthday, prepares for graduation, and too-soon will be packing for college in the fall. (While my special-needs daughter is older, he’ll be my first to do the college thing and move out. Pass the Kleenex box.)

Naturally, we’ve experienced a parade of firsts as he grew. The first breath, tooth, steps, and words were followed by first day of school, drive, date, and checking account. Now we’re at the first college acceptance letter and scholarship stage.

But along with every first has been a last. Last bottle. Last diaper. (Hallelujah!!) Last day of elementary school and then last day of middle school. Last football game. Just over a week ago was the last high school basketball game in the home gym since we’re now in the playoffs can help kid’s memories, the students enjoyed the time and even found a way to play some games as well. Soon will be the last high school basketball game  (since he hopes to play at the next level) and eventually the last baseball game and last day of school.

Amidst the tears, I’m reminded that firsts and lasts are a part of life…and a part of books. Chapters begin, characters encounter obstacles, and chapters end (hopefully with the character having grown in the process). Books repeat the cycle over and over until the final chapter of the story, yet with every ending, there is a new beginning with the next chapter of the next book.

As a mom, I’m sentimental. As a reader, I’m voracious in moving on to the next story. But as a writer, I’m also doing more than starting and ending specific sections of words. I’m also journeying through chapters of life with my first manuscript, first writing conference, first contest, and first critique group until I reached my first contract for my first novel. I’ve personally typed “The End” on ten different manuscripts (including non-fiction) and turned around to start a new project by conquering that first blank page.

Yet, between the measurable starts and stops, there’s a whole lot of middle to muddle through and a whole lot of living to be done. In fact, my personal story goes far beyond the beginnings and the endings, especially since there is so much more to be written.

What about you? Have there been any firsts in your life this year? What about lasts? And perhaps more importantly, how full is the middle?

Firsts And Lasts—The Chapters of Life
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