I feel like it’s already way past midnight, but it’s really not. Maybe it has to do with my sheets STILL being in the dyer (again) thanks to another cat vomit incident (FML). Or maybe, it’s just how very dark it feels now that summer is coming to a close (FMLx2). Or maybe it’s just that I’m so God damn drained of everything.

I realized something today: We spend our lives obsessed with and craving firsts.

First step. First word. First love. First kiss. First fuck. First car. First day of school. First job. First child. First husband. Wait, what?

You get my point.

We crave these milestones. We strive to achieve them and we put so. much. weight. on them. It’s almost insane, and yet, here we all are.

Today was my son’s “first” day of kindergarten. Except, it wasn’t. He was only there for an hour. My ex and I were there with him. We sat in the gym with the Principal and he went off on his merry way to his new classroom, and only with half his classmates, as the first half had already been through the same process earlier in the day (divide and conquer is always the best way, right)?

So, tomorrow Owen will have a half day of kindergarten, then another half day on Friday. Then it’s along weekend as it’s Labour Day. And so, in fact, his real FIRST DAY of school isn’t until next Tuesday.

As we waited for the right time to walk Owen over to school this morning, the ex asked me if I was planning on going back tomorrow to send him off for school again since we weren’t entirely sure today counted as a “first” day…

Does that scared, quick brush of the lips when you’re 10-11 years old count as the first kiss?

Does your parent’s car that you borrowed every weekend for about a year before you could afford your own car count as your “first” car?

Does that bf/gf you had in 5th grade who held you hand once a week and sat with you at lunch but never talked to you and kinda didn’t even really like you count as your first relationship?

As I watched Owen skip down the street in his too-big-backpack and light-up sneakers I couldn’t help but feel a little disjointed about the whole schedule and procedure today. And as we got to the school and were greeted by staff and a basket of Kleenex “just in case” I still didn’t feel the emotions I felt I should. I mean, he was down the hall, and gone for an hour only. Technically, this morning was the first time I’d seen my child in almost 6 days since it’s not my time with him. For me, that’s a helluva lot more tragic than him going to have fun with other kids and a knowledgeable teacher for an hour.

But then, maybe I’m just insensitive?

A few mothers and children were teary and clingy and when I looked at the mothers so upset that made me well up, but I wasn’t crying for the “loss” of my baby boy, I was more upset at the hurt they were currently feeling that their children were taking such a milestone step.

The academic “first” is perhaps one of my favourite (yes, one of…) ones. I am so excited to see how Owen progresses; I can’t wait to explore his strengths and weaknesses. See what he’s good at, what he struggles with. What he loves and what he hates. I’m so, so curious.

As parents we project SO much on our poor unsuspecting children. So much. From emotions to odd sayings to strange food aversions (and likes) to career choices, and we definitely aren’t aware of half the shit we throw on them on a daily basis, of this I’m sure.

Just because mum is into writing and cars and dad weight lifts and is technologically savvy doesn’t mean he’ll do any of the above or even care for it as he evolves and grows  into his own little human being.

And I find this fascinating.

Why would I cry about the possibilities and the potential?

I’ll tell you what I want to cry about: The lunch planning and homework and much, much earlier mornings, and the evening traffic, and the parent/teacher nights and parent committee meetings I’ll inevitably have to attend in order to not be seen as “that” mom, and the increase in birthday parties and play dates (dear God let the other parents be decent human beings who like wine and don’t mind a swear word here and there).

All of that I will cry about, in fact, I’ve already cried about it … while I was labelling EVERYTHING Owen will ever bring onto school property, including every single Crayola marker and individual glue sticks and erasers and Kleenex boxes…. ALL. OF. IT.

Next Tuesday is going to be a helluva lot harder than today was, I think. Sure, Owen will be used to it by then, but next Tuesday is going to be the real deal. Mum’s gotta get outta bed to get us both out on time, we have to sit in real summer’s-over traffic, I have to remember to pack him a healthy, peanut-and-waste-free lunch, I have to actually REMEMBER TO TAKE IT OUT OF THE FRIDGE, once Owen’s been successfully dropped off I then have to get my current press car back and pick up my next one, then get to work and function all day, leave early, sit in more traffic and make sure I don’t leave him in day care for too long since it will, after all, be his first full day and I wouldn’t want him to be too exhausted.

And after all that and dinner, I’m supposed to want to workout in the evening. And I likely will. But I’ll tell you what I’m sure to also do after the workout and after Owen’s had a bath and gone to sleep. I’ll cry. With a big glass of wine.

Because that will be the FIRST day of the next 6 years he’s going to attend this school. That will be as much my first day as it will be his, and that’s kind of a big deal.

Firsts are a big deal, when they’re actual firsts. When they carry weight and meaning and are about change and growing as a person and an individual. Do I feel like Owen’s “first” day helped him progress as a now-student? Not particularly. It was more of a tease, like that first kiss that’s just a grazing of the lips because both were too scared to lean in too far and panicked then pulled back.

And as focused as we are on firsts, what about the follow-ups? The second children, and the relationships after failed marriages, and the subsequent years of school that follow the first day EVER? Do they not carry as much weight?

I think they carry more. We go into the follow-ups knowing more, having experienced more, being braver, more stable (hopefully), better prepared to know what’s coming. Our firsts are there to prepare us for the second time around. And if not prepare us then at least let us know what NOT to do.

My hope is that in this first year of schooling both Owen and I can learn from the mistakes we’ll make (because we surely will) and go into the years that follow stronger and better as a team and as student/parent. Sure, this “first” was exciting, but my God what the future holds excites me so much more.

~ by drivingmsmiranda on August 30, 2017.

One Response to “Firsts”

  1. […] I dipped my toes in the Pacfic Ocean, I drove a real race car, I brought my only child to his first day of school, I helped a foster cat grow past her fear of humans and get adopted to a loving family, I met […]

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