Recently my son lost his FIRST tooth after weeks of wiggling. He went dancing around the house singing- “I lost my too-ooth! I lost my toooooth! yay yay!!” I smiled at his joy-never before I’d seen someone so happy to lose something so close to him.
Indeed, there is something magical about the firsts- When I got my FIRST employment letter, I was utterly proud. I grew an inch taller. I was Alexander, the world conquerer. After a while, I held my FIRST paycheck, and the joy was boundless. I shared this joy of abundance by buying gifts for my family and friends.
My FIRST overseas trip assignment was determining to my career. As I took the first steps out of the giant aircraft into the magnanimous airport of Amsterdam, my feelings were no less than the Neil Armstrong and the crew when they took their first steps on the moon!
The enigma of the firsts lies in the fact that it is the trailblazer experience in your life, whether they are proud moments or not. The firsts might give you the courage to move forward or hold you back. Nonetheless, the firsts gradually sculpt you into the person you become. The same reason we all tend to remember our firsts or the closest next to it.
I remember the first time I rode a bicycle, the first stage show where the audience could hardly see me (I sucked), the first punishment in school (followed by countless throughout my school life-> ha ha! this is called paving the way:). And, the first time I lost someone dear, the first baby born in the family (after me), the first romantic book that I read and the innumerous others firsts.
In the life after kids, the firsts of our lives gradually tail off. And, as a natural progression we embrace the firsts of our children and grandchildren- the baby’s first smile, first words, first walk (or toddle), first tooth, first day at the school, first crush, interview, job and so on…as the life continues with firsts.
The first time failures are equally iconic. They make us humble and resilient to face the future disappointments. My first stage performance as a mom was a debacle- I had learned to play few nursery rhymes on a Casio at home, and my music teacher insisted that I participate in a small stage performance where the students showcased their talent. I simply had to play the tunes I had mastered (on my Casio) on a GRAND PIANO. Mind you, I had never touched a piano in my life, so I was naive to what lied ahead.
During the performance, my fingers huffed and puffed to push on the heavy piano keys trying to play ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’.
I felt as if someone changed the setting of my treadmill workout from an easy leisure walk mode to a treacherous fat burning zone.
Well, after that first embarrassing show, I am back into my mommy performance, this time learning to ice skate alongside my kids. The munchkins have already advanced while I still attempt to stay balanced on the ice.
To sum it up, the firsts are like blank sheets where you make your mark. It is the reason that makes the firsts electrifying and make your heart go ‘thumpty thump’, until you repeat and then it is no longer the first or the second. The first transforms into a routine, and is foreign no more.