Remember your first…
Tomorrow is a huge day for me and many parents whom I’m acquainted: our babies are starting high school. This is big. Colossal. Somehow, we could delay the fact that “we” are growing older, remain in some sort of denial, because, well…one of ours was still in grammar or middle school. Not anymore.
My daughter had her “final” sleep over of the summer last night. The air was filled with a mixture of laughter and grief…like a summer beach day, heavy with fog, leaving them longing for more.
Just moments ago, the mother of the other girl came by to pick up her daughter to do last-minute things. We began our trip down memory lane of our first days: the jitters, the excitement, wanting to just get it over with.
My first day at Marello Prep high school is starting to feel a little fuzzy around the edges, although there are a few images burned into my memory that still bring flutters of excitement. If I’d had a cell phone back then, I would have texted my best friend, who went to a different school, something to the effect of: foxy junior just smiled at me-OMG. But, we lived in an era of having to wait hours to report back to our friends, calling on land lines, twisting long phone cords around our fingers, whilst sprawled across our beds, staring up at posters of Lief Garret, Adam Ant, and any other version of our generation’s Justin Bieber.
Our “firsts” shape us, fashioning a heart that is trusting, forgiving, and open, or one that is cautious, guarded, and hesitant. First days, dances, loves, jobs, break-ups. Think back to how all of these “firsts” affected you and may have changed you to re-route the course in your life. I wonder, as I look through her eyes that have yet to experience so many of these firsts, how she will come to see the world, experience it, learn, love…I want to protect her, and yet, this is her first step of many into waving good-bye. Like the day she handed me her pink blankie, and pulled her thumb out of her mouth long enough to say, “Bye-bye, Momma,” when I dropped her off at pre-school, our children have been preparing to launch themselves every day. It’s we, their parents, who struggle to let go.
I’m also embarking on some firsts. This will be the first time that I don’t drive my daughter to and from school. I’m passing the baton to my son. I give up time with her, the chatter, the “How was your day,” but I gain a couple of hours of writing time. It’s my first time saying, “My children are in high school.” (Oh…that sounds old.) I’m practicing saying this with pride!
It’s also the first time that I can declare myself a “successful writer”. Why now? I’m not sure. I had a magic number in my head: 10,000 books sold. Where did it come from? I’m sure I picked it up at a conference or an article I read in Writer’s Digest. Maybe I invented it. When I wrote Out of Breath, I didn’t know if even 1 person, other than my writing partner, would buy the book. Then, I hoped for 100. 100 turned into 500. 500 to 1,000. You get the picture… So, now I have to set a new goal Why not 100,000! I’m learning that anything is possible.
By this time next year, I look forward to saying that it’s the first time that I’ve had two books published. It’s a stretch, but that’s what firsts are all about: looking at something new, often scary, and definitely wonderful, then doing it with your very best.