Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Remember the First

I remember the first day Keegan didn't cry and cling to me at kindergarten drop off, it was like a weight was lifted off my chest. To be honest, I couldn't tell you exactly what day it was, possibly the fourth day of school, maybe sometime the second week, it's become a bit of a blur. I do remember the feeling, in fact it's happened at so many of his firsts...daycare, preschool, and also first grade, that the days become a memory of me crying, and guilt, and questioning, and it doesn't get easier.

Another first I remember, quite vividly and could even tell you the day, was when I first laid eyes on my son. We had been waiting four years to have this baby, and every minute was worth it. I cried tears of joy, I felt so much love for him, for my husband, even my doctor, he was so perfect and felt so good, skin against skin. Exhausted as I was, I remember that whole day quite well, as everything was perfect, from the nap and oh so refreshing shower, to the decision to just take my baby into bed with me that night. The days following were pure bliss, the years a series of emotional highs and lows that nobody but a child can bring. My two babies have filled my life with wonder and lots of firsts (that's Keegan's first birthday up there).

So why don't I remember all their other firsts, walking (11 and 12 months is as accurate as I can get), first haircut, first words? A lament I hear from working moms is they miss these "firsts." Maybe I take comfort in that excuse, as while watching my little toddlers toddling around, starting to run before we'd gotten over their first tumbles, is a joy unmatched, it doesn't bother me not to remember (my husband I'm sure recorded it somewhere) the first time. I don't remember the first time they said "I love you, " but I do remember how different my two guys were, one so much less verbal and much more likely to give a heart pounding rib breaking hug than to whisper in your ear. So the I Love You's from him are as precious today as they were when he finally said them, whenever that first time was.

The scary firsts, the screaming and crying and fear, rushing to the hospital, those I remember. Trips to the ER for the baby with the bloody lip, a toddler falling on the sidewalk, a pea stuck up someone's nose, the first operation (planned) and first stitches (accident). I remember those vividly, Keegan screaming in the ER so the nurse had to close the curtain and skip the temperature reading, until finally the Olympics began to distract him. And being glad we had a second baby so I got to sleep while my husband went off for the pea removal, first and only foreign body removed.
The not so scary, but heart-wrenching and emotional other firsts, such as the first time I sent my husband OUT, take the baby, take the dogs, I need to have one hour alone and if he's here I can't help but go to him if he cries. I remember the relaxing and loooong bath, followed by a casual stroll out to the backyard to find it empty. They'd gone to a coffee shop. They'd gone out, with the baby, without me. Wait, I would have gone. Thus are the thoughts in a new mom's head - luxury of a bath all alone versus someone actually taking you out somewhere.
And the first time I went to work, feeling so fortunate dad and grandpa had care of my baby, people I could trust. But forgetting my breast pump adaptor, trying to just rid myself of some of the pressure by hand in the bathroom, astounding my friend at work with this tidbit of information, and finally going home, defeated by the pump yet ecstatic at seeing my baby. I barely remember the baby in this equation, but the trials of pumping, the funny stories like when I was complimented on my nice "bag" which was indeed a breast pump, and the bags of milk in the refrigerator.

While I remember those, not by choice, but because my mind cannot forget them, what I want to remember, and a reason for this blog, are the firsts you might not find in a baby book, except perhaps "baby's first tattoo." The first time Keegan made lunch I just wanted to cry and call my friends and hug time so tightly he'd never get away. He got so excited about the new blue container he wanted to make his lunch right then and there. Watching my meticulous little guy so serious, spreading the tiniest about of peanut butter, just the way he likes it, with lots of jelly. Organizing the new container and packing cheetos and cucumbers and grapes, so I documented it.

So there are some of mine, tell me about your firsts.


  1. I love how this writing prompt has allowed us to go back and relive some of our children's "firsts".

    Mad About Multiples! will be putting up posts today. Come visit!


  2. Hi Nicole, this is Lisa Garrigues, author of Writing Motherhood. Your post reads like a collage of firsts...from scary to sentimental firsts, remembered to forgotten firsts. Love it... Lisa

  3. Great post! I really love reading about everyone's firsts. It seems like once the kiddos get bigger you don't have as many opportunities to really re-live the the firsts with anyone. This event has been so much fun. :)

    My first I was going to blog about was when my oldest daughter started kindergarten last month. She never went to daycare or preschool, as I am a stay-at-home mom, so when full day kindergarten was upon us I became a total wreck. I bawled my eyes out for weeks in advance just because I couldn't believe the time had come for my baby girl (she was 2.5 wks away from turning 5 when school started) to leave me. I know it's silly because it was just kindergarten- not college, but it was so bittersweet none the less. I kept seeing her starting kindergarten as the door to her turning 5 and that being the door to her turning 18 and moving away. Wow, big jump there, huh? LOL I know. I know. I couldn't help it though. I'm always an emotional wreck for about a month preceeding her birthday anyways, so topped with the milestone achievement of beginning school it was just too much drama for one little ol' me.

    By the time the first day of school actually rolled around I was absolutely terrified to take my daughter and drop her off. It wasn't that I didn't think she was ready. Quite the contrary, I knew she was ready. And it was that readiness that was bugging the crap out of me because that meant she really was growing up and needed me just that tiny bit less than before. I knew she was going to have an absolute blast at school because for the past 2 years it's all we've heard about. All her friends and cousins were in daycare and/or preschool before entering kindergarten, so she'd already watched all of them go and was desperate to get in on the action. Plus being home with me all the time I was able to really work with her on a pre-k level at home, and by the time she started kindergarten she was doing everything the other kindergarten kids were doing and then some. She's even reading at near a first grade level. So, yes, I knew she'd do great.

    I told myself I wasn't going to cry when I walked her in. I knew I wouldn't be the only one if I did, but the thought of crying in public, no matter how sentimental the reason, was just too embarassing. And since I knew no one there, I didn't want to start the year off as "that mom who bawled". lol I walked her in, gave her kiss good-bye, and sent her on her way. She did great. Then she realized I was really leaving, and it hit her. She came running back to me and became all clingy. I can't remember kindergarten myself, but I can imagine the mix of emotions my daughter was dealing with, because I was dealing with the same ones on the mommy level. I told her I would walk with her to her class (they'd met initially in the gym so the classes could all walk in together incase some of the littler ones didn't know where to go), and so together we walked- her shuffling her feet, and me feeling a huge knot in my stomach.

    Outside her classroom the teacher told all the kids to find the locker with their name on it, and at this my daughter immediately perked up and off she went. It was if the initial totally excited little girl took back over, and she couldn't move away from me fast enough. After she located her locker and put her backpack inside, the teacher told all the kids to go find their seat in their classroom. It was here that I had to say my 'good-bye' again. Amazingly, at this point I had still not shed a single tear since stepping on school grounds. Nearly forgetting to even stop on her way in to the classroom, my daughter made a quick beeline for me. Grabbing a quick hug and tossing an "I love you, mommy!" over her shoulder she was gone. That's when I noticed another class mom begin tearing up as her little one headed off, and that's when my own personal waterworks began. I'd held it together up until that moment, but seeing the other woman's release was just too much for me and simply couldn't help but cry. It was official, my first baby was a big kindergarten girl.


    P.S. Okay, I just have to say that I'm again bawling like a baby just recalling this. Oi, mommy emotions! LOL