May 18, 2014

Bittersweet firsts

There's the first word, the first step, the first time he says, "I'll do it myself!" with an air of such determined independence that you're taken aback. The first skinned knee, the first solo bike ride (sans training wheels), the first day of school, the first lost tooth (see above).

A string of firsts that are amazing, bewildering, and uplifting. A string of firsts that also break your heart, just a tiny bit, because you know, there will never be another first word, or first step, or first lost tooth. means he's growing up.

With every first, he moves just a few steps further into the real world, and just a few steps further away from the nest.

Ultimately, that's the goal, right? To help them find their wings, raise them in just the right way that they know when it's time to fly on their own, welcome them back when they need a rest.

But, it's hard.

Right now, I know about all the firsts...and most of them are positive...though of course there's the first fall, the first time he got grounded, the first time he said a naughty word, the first time another kid pushed him and made him cry. The first time I held him after surgery, the first bug bite, the first joke he made up by himself, the first time he was defeated on the wrestling mat.

There are hundreds still coming...the first broken bone, the first sleepover, the first crush, the first time behind the wheel, the first broken heart.

I collect all of his firsts in the back of my mind. They aren't the totality of his existence, after all, they are only firsts...but they are the stepping stones of his life. Some are solid and dry. Others are slippery and dangerous. Some are easy to find...and still others are almost too deep in the water to find. But, they are all there. Waiting. Waiting to be found and tried.

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