firsts

2:11 PM


As parents we are often granted the unique privilege of watching our children experience so many things for the first time. There's the first smile that feels earth shattering after weeks of blank stares. Their first "food," the first time they sit up, crawl and eventually walk. And the wonderful thing is that even after those huge milestones there continue to be so many smaller, but in a way equally wonderful ones. I'll never forget the first time our oldest saw snow, the way it almost literally took her breath away. Their first time on an amusement park ride. Their first time trying a cherry. The excitement, thrill and pure joy is infectious! What is better than watching your child soak up the world one flavor, sound, snowflake and butterfly at a time?
Perhaps the reason this is especially dear to me as an adult is that for most of us the firsts are in the past, a part of our memory. There are fewer thrilling experiences left for us to devour. Nature however remains a constant thrill-giver. It's one of my favorite ways to experience newness. But on a daily or weekly basis its rare. Sometimes though, the simple act of remembering can be just as lovely. I was thinking about so many of my firsts last week and I thought it might be interesting to put together a little list. A list of all the things I wish I could do again, for the first time. Like:

  • driving a car for the first time. I'll never forget the butterflies in my belly the first time I pushed down on the accelerator and then eventually the first time I was allowed to go over 60 mph. It was the biggest rush, I simply couldn't get enough! I wonder if trying one of those race car track places may give me a similar feeling.
  • feeling my first baby kick in my belly for the first time. Trust me every kick is amazing and it's incredible even with your second and I'm sure any subsequent child. But that very first time it happens you can almost feel everything around you go completely still as you are rocked by the very physical and real realization that there is LIFE IN YOU. You know. You get it. You've seen the ultrasounds and heard the heartbeat but when that little person nudges you for the first time to say "hi, I'm here mama" it's unlike anything else. Frightening and beautiful and life changing all at the same time. 
  • the feeling I got from reading my very first "grown-up" book. I'll never forget it. Second grade. Little Women by Alcott. Curled up in one of my schools window seats during recess.  It took me from September through Christmas to get through it but it was worth every minute. It felt absolutely intoxicating to get so lost in something outside of my present reality.
  • listening to Kanye's College Dropout for the first time. I was in high school. I was driving on my own. Windows down. Volume turned wayyyy up. I had never heard anything like it. I beat that poor cd to death. I love it still and add it to my rotation often but there's nothing quite like the chills I got from hearing it for the first time. 
  • trying sushi for the first time. It's kind of embarrassing but I was actually 19 years old the first time I tried it. My parents aren't terribly adventurous eaters and we had lived in tiny towns whose "asian" options consisted of one Chinese restaurant with a deep, decade long love affair with MSG. So it took Kevin dragging me kicking and screaming to a hole in the wall joint that he swore would make me fall in love to finally take the plunge. I remember that diminutive spicy tuna roll on a white styrofoam plate like it was yesterday. Everything in my brain said "NO WAY" but once in my mouth something inside me screamed "YES!!" Now we get sushi at minimum once a week and I can't imagine life without it. And I've had great sushi since then, expensive sushi, but there's nothing like that first bite. Those new flavors waking up my tongue felt electric!
  • my first kiss with my husband. I say with my husband because my first "official" kiss was tremendously awful (think teeth on teeth). So yeah... that again. Because wow. 
  • the last Christmas when I was genuinely excited/anxious about Christmas morning. We all grow up, have our own money and start complaining about the hassle that is Christmas. So to be able to go back to that last Christmas Eve when visions of presents you've been waiting for danced in your head and you hoped so very hard you would find what you were dreaming of under that tree seems oh so magical. 
  • my first heartbreak. Call me crazy but there's just something about exercising that muscle in your heart for the very first time that is bittersweet. It's unbelievably painful but it's beautiful too. To realize you could feel for someone so deeply in such a relatively short period of time (compared to what you feel for your parents or siblings which was built over the course of decades) and then have that feeling stomped out. It was dizzying. 
  • seeing America for the first time. It truly is the country of glamour, comfort and convenience and to someone completely new to it all it is absolutely electrifying. We flew into JFK in December a1999 and all the wreaths adorned with shiny red bows, the plastic packaging, the smell of Starbucks coffee and allspice and all the smiling made me feel like I had died and gone to heaven. I wish I could feel that way about this country again. It was pure magic. 
That's a short list of it. I'm sure I could think of more but these are the ones that really stand out to me. How about you? What's something you would desperately want to experience again for the first time? I'd love to hear about it! 

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