Thursday, July 15, 2010


It wasn’t pretty but it was my first ride without training wheels on my bike. My Dad ran beside me as I pedaled my way down the driveway. I was flying so free until I got too close to the side of the house and crashed my bare toes into a flower area edged in brick. No, despite my Dad’s best intentions I would not put shoes on. Yes, band-aids, several, were required. My first bike ride and I was free to roam the neighborhood.

I remember my first day at school. My mother stopped said, again and again, I had to get out. I finally did. I remember standing there, all by myself, watching her drive away up the hill and out of sight. I remember more tears at that moment than when I crashed on my first bike ride. It only took a couple of days of being exposed to learning and a big big world I never thought about, before that car door could not open fast enough. School and learning became like an addiction. Every day, for that first year, despite flying out of the car to get to class, I would always stop and watch my mother drive away. My first year in school and I was free to roam the world.

I remember my first piano lesson and the terror of my first recital – playing Old McDonald. I remember I was too short to touch the floor and my feet swung in the air. I remember my last recital, playing a Beethoven symphony on a Grand piano. My small hands were thundering up and down the keyboard. I was free and totally lost in the music. Before the last chord there was a pause and then you were to crush the keys with the final chord. I went to strike the chord and missed the keyboard. No seriously, all fifty two keys went untouched. My hands slapped my thighs. I lifted my hands, played the chord softly, stood, took my bow and exited the stage. Looking back, I bet that was a first for a piano recital. I remember my first piano note and the vibration of the keys against a heart set free with the music. I remember my last piano recital and the vibration of my hands slapping my thigh, the softness of the chord I did strike, and a heart that discovered the importance of soft.

So many “firsts” in our lives that go unmarked on a calendar. They have no special day of celebration. Time marches on and firsts become routine. Some firsts, yes, we would like to forget, but even those carry with them another first we treasure. Firsts that open the cocoons of our lives and we fly out into the sun a new creature, alive and awakened. Maybe we need a “First Holiday” where the world can get caught up in the anticipation and excitement of exchanging gifts of “firsts” with each other.

Maybe, if I string enough firsts in my memory, self confidence and belief would overcome the challenges and journeys that sometimes overwhelm a person. Every challenge, every journey always starts with a “first” something. Maybe if I see this long string of firsts, even if they have become routine, that “first” would be a whole lot easier. Maybe, everything is a first, so, I tell myself, ‘go for it!’ No more training wheels. Besides, there’s a box of band-aids in the cabinet. Ride little one. Let’s see the world for the first time.