Aaah first-times. Mmmm….
No, I’m not talking about only sex.
I’m talking about those defining moments in our lives.
Like an old photograph, most memories fade. But somehow first-times stick in our minds forever – some good, some bad – shaping us – influencing our thoughts, molding our opinions and manipulating our choices for the rest of our lives.
But first-times don’t necessarily only happen when we are young. As unique individuals, each of us experience first-times at different stages throughout our lives until the first time we die. Some we will always remember fondly and others we will choose to ignore – but, never forget.
Recently, I had a very special first-time.
I was visiting Sexy Legs in the Windy City. It was a glorious Summer’s day. We were at the beach.
And I was watching my son swimming in the ocean for the first time.
The last time I saw Chad in seawater he was 10 months old. I remember feeling blissfully happy as I lay on the beach watching him play in the sea-sand and water for the first time in his life. I was content – believing foolishly that I was in control. Days later our, seemingly perfect, lives were shattered.
Now here I was again watching my boy – fiercely maternal and proud as can be.
But, it was different.
I was not the same – no longer young, reckless and carefree.
The harsh realities of life had taught me stuff – gratitude, wisdom, restraint, humility. I was no longer able to physically go onto the beach with him. That is tough. And cruel.
He too has changed.
He is already 13 with his looks more chiseled and beginning to resemble a man. Handsome. Strong. Adventurous. Bold. And aware.
Oh my God! How did my baby get so big, so quickly?
We first walked out onto the pier together, humbled by the enormity and power of the ocean. We spent a few minutes at the end, simply appreciating the breathtaking view. The sound of the ocean beneath us was drowning out any other sounds – including my complaints about my hair constantly blowing into my mouth.
I felt as if we were on a platform and the waves were dancing beneath us to the happy tune playing in my heart. I wanted to savour every moment of this first-time experience with my son.
He hugged me tight. And kissed me on the cheek. Mom, I’m going to swim. Okay?
Not before I gave him strict instructions and explained that he needed to stay between the red flags so that the lifeguards could keep an eye on him. Ja, I know mom. I know.
Okay boy. Just be careful. Love you.
I watched as my boy made his way down onto the beach. It was packed. So was the piece of water between the flags.
I was anxious but excited. My heart wanted to burst with joy and yet I wanted to cry in sorrow.
Sexy Legs draped his arm around my shoulders and drew me close, in comfort. I looked at him – just for a second – connecting – knowing that he understands, everything.
I looked back across the swimming area and was instantly irritated with myself for taking my eyes off of Chad. I could feel my heart skip a few beats in panic as I scanned the half-naked bodies on the sand and the multitude of bobbing heads in the water, searching for my child.
As he surfaced again, I looked for a sign – anything – to be sure that he was mine. But there was no mistaking his body language – his mannerisms and gestures unique, yet not different to mine or his dad’s. I felt much like a mother zebra instinctively recognizing her foal among all the others.
He waved. I nodded my head. He gave me a thumbs-up. And I smiled.
Just that one exchange between a mother and her son was enough – I knew that I would never forget this first-time.
The three of us spent a long time together at the beach – Sexy Legs and Chad on the wall, me on the walkway. We spent time talking to one another, watching the other people and laughing our heads off – especially after Sexy Legs put a cable tie into my hair (in desperation) to keep it from constantly going into my mouth.
It was a perfect day. And a first-time to be cherished.
Please share your recent first-times with me too.