Life is full of many firsts, all containing different levels of emotion. Parenting surely is no exception! The unbelievable joy felt when your firstborn is laid in your arms... or second, third and fourth for that matter. It never gets old. First smile, first coo, first step, first word, the list goes on and on.
But there are a few firsts that I never anticipated. Like the first time a toddler came waddling out of the bathroom to proudly announce, "Mama, I wiped myself!" If that doesn't put a curdle to your stomach wondering what telltale signs you will find left in the bathroom from that event , I don't know what will!
Or how about that first trip to a restaurant without any tag alongs? Silence never sounded so loud, and granted, though silence is much needed at times, I now realize how dull it can quickly become.
Then, when the kids start getting a little bit older, it happens. You are sitting in church, and you realize you made it through to the final Amen without having to get up one time. Zero. Not even a single nose blow, potty break, thirst attack, or diaper change needed. Another unforgettable first. But don't get too used to this one, there is bound to be a case of the sniffles by next Sunday.
One first that didn't go quite as thought in this house was loosing the first tooth. All visions of gentle wiggling, string tying to door knobs, or even punching out by brotherly love vanished with one trip to a pediatric dentist. Words like surgery and extraction were used, and we realized our efforts to pin down two squirming boys every night to brush teeth had not cut the mustard. Needless to say when it was all said and done, the dentist had hit pay dirt, and simultainously, the tooth fairy was feeling quite stingy indeed.
This first comes at different times for every parent, and I think it's safe to say it comes to a dad sooner. The day you realize your baby isn't so much of a baby anymore. I was living in careful oblivion to that particular fact until my oldest was about five. That was the day I looked out the window and saw the skid steer going past with a load of wood in the bucket. The revelation came to me that skid steers certainly don't drive themselves, so I honed in for closer inspection. The blond in the operators seat was most definitely not my husband. No, he was the one directing traffic like everything is completely normal and this is how it should be. I still am recovering from that event.
There is also the unavoidable, unforgettable first involving losing a loved one. When the news came their cousin had passed from this life to the next, I remember wondering how I was going to be "strong" for the kids sake. I guess I should have known better, realizing what faith children really have. They were, indeed, the ones showing me strength. I overheard conversations of how he's "gone on to glory" now and the cd repeat button was hit over and over in the weeks and months following to hear "Ashton's song" one more time. The chorus "To a land where joy shall never end" filled the vehicle and home continuosly, bringing peace and comfort with it.
In the overall view of parenting, I'm still on rookie status, and I know there are surely going to be more interesting firsts ahead, along with the typical first car, first date (yikes!!), and the rest. But I pray they come ONE at a time!:)