There are certain things a person just doesn’t forget.  Your first friend: Mine’s name was Tina. She was invisible and spent her days living in a mansion with her mother and then visiting her blind father in a shack by a large water-tank.(Even at five I was just a tad dramatic) I remember sobbing in my grandparents pop-tent admitting to my sister Miss, that she was in fact, gasp, make-believe.  Then there is your first haircut/perm what have you: Mine was a perm twisted and pinned together by my mom.  I remember it stunk and pulled and I looked very much like the lead singer from Twisted Sister when it was done.   And of course the first time being left out:  I was in first grade and was the only girl in my class who was not invited to a birthday party where they were going to see “Girls just want to have Fun.”  And I really want to! That was my first experience with that raw shaky feeling of rejection. 

So maybe I shouldn’t have been  so surprised when my Jonah on the second week of school got in the car, his big blue eyes all welled up as he said, “I’m just so sad.  I can’t even tell you about my day.”  After a bit of prodding(okay, a lot)he said as tears escaped down his cheeks, “___ said he doesn’t want to be my friend anymore!”  As I kissed his salty cheeks and hugged him tight, I fought back my own tears.  I knew this wasn’t the last time he’d feel this quake in his heart, but I’d wished it could have been later. Like maybe when I was older and could be a wiser mom, and he would be older and wiser than me.  But since I’m not older, I did the wisest thing I knew how.  I talked to him about feeling sad, and told him that maybe his friend was tired and just meant he didn’t want to play anymore today.  I said that sometimes friends say things even when they don’t mean it, and that I bet that tomorrow he’d probably want to play again.(This of course after I called a few experts — His Dad, my Mom, Em, and Christina)  And then after another few allowed kisses I did the next best thing I knew, distraction in the form of Strawberry Frappacino’s and video games at Em’s.  I told myself all the things I’d heard:  this is normal, this is part of socialization, this is life.  But that little girl with the 80’s mullet in me couldn’t help but think, “It isn’t fair!”  But maybe that’s half the battle of parenting.  Figuring out that when our kids hurt it affects us, and learning how to help them   And sometimes that means calling for help and swallowing the lump in our own throats. 

It’s been a month since Jonah’s just-so-sad day at school, and he and ___ have played almost every day.  But it seems like weekly I’m seeing changes in him, and watching him experience all the pains that come with growing up.       And I feel a little quake in my heart getting ready to celebrate his sixth birthday tomorrow,  knowing these firsts will become seconds then thirds, and someday my little boy won’t be so little anymore.

So, when he’s big there are some things I want him to remember… that when we found out we were pregnant his Dad swung me around and around.  And even though we had planned on waiting a few years to get pregnant(we made it a whole four months) that it was the best surprise of our lives.  I want him to remember how being open to God’s will and making it our own made us better people.  I want him to remember that the day he was born changed our lives forever, and how he was perfect looking with curly blond hair and bright blue eyes.  I probably won’t share for a loooong time that he came out sunny-side up which gave him that perfect look, but I will share how his eyes were wide open when he entered the world.  I want him to remember he’s been that way since day one, eye’s wide open, observing the whole world, a sponge learning and memorizing everything.  I want him to remember that I thank God everyday that he is my oldest son.   That I think he is an amazing big brother.   And anyone would be blessed to be his friend. 

And of course there are the things he won’t forget, because I won’t let him.  His first friend: Cathy, they’ve been friends since they were two and he has since called her “my girlfriend”.  His fierce loyalty towards her has been tested through different schools, schedules, and her pronounced love for Jesse McCarthy.  His first haircut:  The one and only time his dad was allowed to cut his hair he came out looking like he was a prisoner of war.  And maybe he’ll remember that first feeling of rejection, and then again maybe not.  But that’s okay, because what I want him to remember is that he is a beloved Child of God, and with his birth our hearts shook wide open and have been brimming ever since.  After all there certain things you never forget.  And I could never forget him.  After all… he’s my first.