It’s Monday. Oh yeah. Not everyone’s favourite day of the week but I like it. It is kind of like a fresh start, a new beginning, a clean slate, time to make things happen. Not that I need to or anything. Yeah maybe I do. I’ll get to that in a moment. So today I am thinking of FIRSTS. Do you remember any of your FIRSTS? You know those FIRST times for experiencing something, making you so awake. Those moments of FIRSTS that seem to hold fast in your long term memory, resurrecting unexpectedly at a moments notice.
What’s a FIRST? Obviously, I do not remember the FIRST few months or even years of my life. At least I do not think so. I know I look at some pictures of days of old, my childhood and teenage years, captured in an instant. Do I recall it myself with panoramic images crossing like a flashing landscape of sorts? Or do I remember because it was embedded in my storyboard dictated in a narrative told over and over again by a significant person? That is the question for me.
My daughter from Ontario just informed me that their Premier just lifted the ban, if you will, to having a few people, outside own household, to come and visit. Well that must be a relief for Ontario…seeing light for the first time in a while. Blessings to you all. I know it will be a good news story for my oldest daughter and her partner because their newborn baby girl, who is now 3 months old, has yet to meet his mom and his siblings. For some reason I got in before the chaos began with COVID-19, to hold her, hug her, before I had to return home. I can only imagine the giddiness of feelings inside of baby girl’s grandma….gratitude, thankfulness, heart beating. Yes, Skype, Facetime, Messenger, texting or whatever form of social media (which thankfully exists) is available to connect across the miles, it is not quite the same as touching. To hold her for the FIRST time, that FIRST smell of her (not the diaper but her skin smell)…no words to describe inside, only feeling…oh my, to the roof. It will be a wondrous moment of FIRSTS for them.
Anyway, I had a sleepover with my grandkids on Friday night which was quite lovely. But, I had two FIRSTS that took place – one happy, one not so happy. I woke up early Saturday morning because my 10-month old granddaughter sleeps up in my room in the travel bed. She got up early along with me and after having her bottle and a bit of breakfast, I decided to take her for a walk in the stroller down to the beach. Her FIRST time. Not exactly a warm sunny morning but mild enough, little wind, and calm. Oh my. I held her in my arms as I looked at her face. She just kept moving her head back and forth, looking out over the water as the waves came in. I have no idea what she took in but I took her in….her expression on her scrunched up tiny face, looking.
And then, I took off her little shoes (her FIRST pair of shoes) rolled up her pants and put her feet on the sand. She did not move, only her toes, squishing them. I do not think she knew what to do. All of a sudden, grabbed my fingers and she walked like a marching elephant, feet kicking out in front of her towards the water. She stopped as the water touch her feet. A big FIRST. I so wanted to give my grand-daughter that gift. The sea, the sand, the surf. That was a fantastic FIRST for me and her.
Now my bad FIRST. When I left to go for my walk, my 9-year old grandson was left to sleep. It was about 6:30 am in the morning and I let him sleep; his auntie was in the next room. Well I got told. He woke up to a silent home, searching for me, and letting me know in no uncertain terms that his Rara, that’s me, did not let tell him. It really hurt him and it hurt me that I disappointed him; that was a FIRST for me. Lesson learned my boy – I will let you know. Humble pie is in order. Sorry.
But I do have a powerful FIRST that sticks with me even today and yet, it is quite ordinary in its nature. I was coming back from a retreat weekend which by the way was another FIRST for me (never having left my family before for a weekend) and my gas was quite low. So I pulled into a Petrocan, not thinking about what I was doing, and found myself in the self-service line. I had a car in front of me and then another car pulled up right behind me. So what? Well, the problem was, I have never ever put gas in my car before; and I was 45 at that time. I always went to a full service station (gap in gas prices for self-serve and full serve was not that big a deal) or my late husband would always do it. Needless to say, I panicked. Really? Yes, really. It was a moment of truth for me. I can remember every minute detail of that moment from start to finish. When I pulled away, I felt relief and joy all bundled up, making me feel free. Silly when I think about it now but a life changing FIRST nevertheless.
Of course there are so many FIRSTS that you experience in your life and cannot possibly remember each and everyone. Sometimes I would like to do a do-over, re-do, re-start for some of my FIRSTS. Then I’m getting into back to the future kind of living and regret. Is life not to be lived? Absolutely there are times when you wish you could go back but its about the journey. However, I do want to state here that some FIRSTS (chuckling at myself)…well let’s just say I could have done without.
Oh the hills and dales of the FIRSTS…tooth, step, smile, kiss, falling in love, home, job, car/truck, pay cheque, marriage, friend, parenthood, first baby, alcohol/smoke, boy/girl friend, heartache, loss of beloved, fired, pet, license, flight, sail, change a tire, abuse, bully, argument, school, speech, sunrise/sunset, birth, death, learning to cook, hair cut, glasses, cut class, go fishing, sports team, concert, ticket, left home, fight, school, date, sibling, crush, proud of you, travel out of country, movie at cinema, to name just a few, minuscule even. Each FIRST is significant, a walk down memory lane.
I think what I am realizing from all the FIRSTS I have noted (mine or others), there are still more to come. Oh yes. That is a good thing. It is allowing risk and courage to happen, to be open to the unknown, to give things a go. Why not?. Yes there are going to be ones that I could say and have said “holy lightning” or “are you kidding me?” While other times, you amaze yourself. Naturally when you do something for the FIRST time, it may not turn out the way you hoped for, but what was needed. I do not believe that FIRSTS are only for the young.
I am chuckling now because I am thinking back to my FIRST home with my folks in a little town outside of London ON. That is 5 + decades ago. I can still rattle off my phone number, address, and postal code. Yet, I cannot tell you two of my daughters phone numbers to this day. Now why is that?
Blessings for all the FIRSTS in your life.
Let us pray for those in need today.