There’s nothing like that first cup of coffee in the morning. I usually savor mine after the kids have gone to school, and I am sitting down to breakfast and Facebook or the daily newspaper. The first cup is so fresh and gives me that pleasant jolt into the day’s activities. Subsequent cups just don’t have the same effect.
I find that’s often the case with firsts. The first day of school is magical. If you’re a student, the new notebooks and pencils you use, the teachers who aren’t tired of you yet, the friends you haven’t seen all summer – all make that first day so much fun. If you’re the teacher, you have fresh ideas, a fresh batch of students, and a fresh outlook after a summer’s rest.
As I’ve written before, having my first child was a special experience, and although I love all my children more than words can say, my first child has the unique place of ushering me into the world of parenthood. Indeed, children have many firsts that we love to document: first smile, first words, first steps. If we’re lucky, we even find the time to record these firsts in their baby books and tuck a wisp of hair from their first haircuts into them.
In our culture, we also applaud firsts. In my lifetime, some of the most spectacular firsts were the first man to walk on the moon, the first heart transplant, and the first black president. If Hillary Clinton wins in November, she will be the first female president! The special nature of a first is that it paves the way for a new way of doing things, a new lifestyle, a new direction for society. It is proper, I think, to make a big deal out of these firsts.
They say familiarity breeds contempt. And while it’s true that the familiar can be dull, it can also be comforting. We will always have fond memories of the firsts in our lives: first paycheck, first car, first date, first kiss. May we continue to seek new adventures and new firsts in our lives while treasuring the mainstays that keep us grounded.