Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Anticipating the “Firsts” and Not Knowing the “Lasts”


As we ease through life there are a vast number of “firsts” which we look forward to with keen anticipation. Right off the bat there is the first time Junior rolls over, crawls and then takes his first step. This is followed by the first time to use the “potty” and speaking his first words. These are all occasions which indicate growth and a landmark in a child’s development.

After infancy the “firsts” keep coming. There is the first haircut, the first day at school, the first time spending the night with a friend, the first sporting event, and sometimes, the first spanking.

We celebrate the first day of being able to drive, the first day to vote, the first day to drink, and the first day we live on our own.

Each one of these watershed moments takes us one step further on the ladder of life. It is an evolution; an indication of growth, maturing, and moving on to a better, fuller, well-rounded life.

Funny how we do not seem to think about the “lasts” until we are old and look back at our journey through life.

I do not specifically recall the last time my childhood friends and I played stickball, and I did not know that when we walked off the field that day, we would never play another game together.

I have no recollection of the last day my sisters and I all shared the same roof with our mother and father, and how understanding that day changed my relationship with all of them.

After many late nights of shooting the bull, horsing around, fighting and partying, I never appreciated the night before graduation would be the last time my fraternity brothers and I would all be together.

I remember those times when my children were small and would get in bed with me on Sunday morning and we would scuffle and play under the covers. When was the last time that happened?

The last time my grandfather and I were together we both knew it was the last time. He was 95 and failing quickly. It was a very special meeting because deep in both our hearts we both knew we would never see each other again in this life. We hugged and stared deep into each other’s eyes and said everything that could be said without the necessity of speaking. It was joyful to know it was the “last”, and we celebrated the event by accepting the reality of death and acknowledging what we meant to each other.

I do not know when my last day of work will be. Nor do I know when I will speak to my wife, converse with my children and grandchildren, or simply enjoy a wonderful meal with good friends for the last time. I hope I can appreciate each event and value them for one day they will all be gone. I will never know when that day will happen. Be thankful for what we have and what is to come. Life is a certain mystery.

Thought for the day: We have time machines in our brain. Sometimes they take us back and they’re called memories. Some take us forward; they’re called dreams.

Until next time…I will keep ridin’ the storm out.