first times and lastpublished: 2011-07-26
There’s a first time for everything. A first move, from one home to the next. Becomes the tenth, maybe twentieth.
I have never moved back to a place before. That’s a first. To then experience nothing has changed, and so neither have you. You can’t have, if everything else is still the same.
Some first times are last times: the first time you drive alone after having gotten your license, the first time you give birth. The first time you go through divorce. The first time you find your 5-year-old son quietly sitting on the couch and brooding over something. And when you go and sit next to him, you discover he is staring at a photo. It’s a picture of you and your husband. Or should you say ‘ex’? You want to cry but don’t. Instead you ask him, “are you sad?” He nods.
“It is sad,” you say.
That’s a first too, to want to comfort your son, but to know you can’t because you are the cause of his grief.
I hope it’s a last.
To accomplish this, we must accept that each of us is different from other human beings in some way. A conservative relative from Texas is fond of saying, “Well, that’s different!” about the more liberal and unfamiliar practices he has encountered on various trips to visit us in Minnesota. It’s true; things are done differently in different neighborhoods, in different states, in different regions, across our great country and certainly beyond our borders. And this is good news.
And when you go and sit next to him, you discover he is staring at a photo. It’s a picture of you and your husband. Or should you say ‘ex’? You want to cry but don’t. Instead you ask him, “are you sad?” He nods.