The thing about being first time parents that always tugs at the heartstrings is the number of firsts you experience in a short span of time. I remember vividly the first time I mistook another person’s baby for ours, tapping at the nursery window in the hospital, promising to be the best dad ever, vowing to be a better person for five whole minutes before the maternity ward staff nurse wheeled out another bassinet with our actual son who was crying his lungs out because he was hungry.
I must have looked quite daft as I wheeled him to my wife’s hospital room, all my steely eyed, firm jawed conviction evaporated, and all I could think of was the hint of a smirk on the staff nurse’s smile.
It has come in quick succession, our son’s first solid meal, the first word (“Dog”), first unaided steps, first Halloween, first Christmas, first New Year’s, first birthday, first flight, first unaided kick-scooter ride, first ski lesson (followed by nine mountain ski descents), first first nursery class, first school bus ride, the first time he said a rude word because he heard one of the songs Papa wrote for work (Kow Peh Kow Bu).
It’s all a blur, but somehow, each one’s as memorable as the other. There’s been the anticipation, excitement, joy and pride, over and over again in the last three years and a bit, and we’re looking forward to the first skateboard ride, even though that’s a little way away while we look for a board that’s small enough for him.