A child’s “firsts”

I had my first child when I was 29 years old. I started back to school and back to work when he was 8 weeks old. As a full-time student and working mother, I missed a lot of my child’s “firsts”.

Certainly, I knew it was going to be a trade-off; get better educated to get better employed and to be able to give said child a better life. I reminded myself of this often; like, when my mother called excitedly to describe my son’s first time saying “Mama”, or when my or mother-in-law called to tell me how my son lost his first tooth…you know, little things like that.

Well, my son turned 19 last month. Of course, we get used to our kids not sharing with us every detail of their lives as the get older like they do (how could they avoid it?) when they are very young.

Recently, my son took his first airplane ride (well, almost his first. He did go up in a small plane with his dad and sister many years ago…but I don’t count that. Plus, there was a parent present). For this plane ride, he was with a friend, and without parent. I guess it was sort of like the first day of kindergarten (or college, for that matter); the child adapts in 5 minutes to new people and new surroundings; the parent? Not so much.

He was good about it. He offered to call every day while away on his trip, and then remembered to actually do it. We parents tried to do our part by being supportive but not stifling. It was hard. It is hard… to go to sleep at night when your whole family is not home, safe in bed. “Hello, Dad? I finally get it.”

How do you deal with your child(ren) growing up?

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