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Monday Musings and Motivations — Part Thirty-Two — Firsts

I remember the first time I was defeated.  I was in the third grade and me, being the avid reader and writer that I was then, I was insanely competitive about spelling.  I was the best speller in my class.  I’d beat everyone in my class and in classes above me in order to reach the regional spelling bee.

It wasn’t like it is now.  I see those kids (yes, I’m that big of a reading/writing nerd that I’ve watched them) spelling and studying for months before they go to a national spelling bee.

This was on a much smaller scale but it was huge for me.  Anyway, it came down to just me and this boy.  I was feeling pretty smug and I just knew I had it.  I’d spelled words like chrysanthemum, allegiance, bouquet — words that kids (and adults) have trouble with now, myself included.  It was a pivotal moment and the final word I was given was dentist.

A great speller defeated by "dentist."

A great speller defeated by “dentist.”

“Dentist, D-E-N-D-I-S-T, Dentist.”  As soon as I the letters tumbled out of my mouth, I knew I’d screwed it up.  My Mom said my mouth dropped open and my eyes teared.  It was over.  My first defeat and one that hurt because I’d worked so hard.

Other Firsts

Remember your first kiss?

Remember your first kiss?

I remember my first real kiss, the first time I fell in love (or what I thought that was), followed by my first heartbreak.

My first (starter) marriage, my first divorce (and one’s enough — for me, anyway).

My first time of being really alone — just me, with only me being responsible for myself.  That first, although at the time it didn’t seem so, was my BEST first.

I got my first degree.  Traveled.  Got published.  Did dangerous fun things that were totally out of character for me.  The first time I realized that I would be okay if it was just me, was my turning point — a great “first.”

Then the world opened up and hubby walked in about nine years later and I experienced the real deal for the first time. It wasn’t so much falling hard, but a gradual, getting-to-know-another-soul-sweet-soothing-liquid-flowing-kind-of-thing.

You know, like when you’ve been parched for a long time after working so hard and the first time you let something cool slide down your throat.  It’s not so much that you’re greedily drinking; you’re just so damned relieved that you’re not thirsty anymore.

Firsts are scary, painful, exhilarating, mind-blowing, agonizing, spiritual, awe-inspiring — all that stuff that is glorious because we’re alive.

Firsts can occur to anyone, great ones, no matter what you’ve been through or how old you are.  “Firsts” are teachers and guide us — if we’re willing to be guided.

Another first, yesterday…

I’ve been back in my home for almost a week now after experiencing many “firsts.”

For the first time since that wicked, terrifying storm hit, I went to the beach.

See that buoy..it was knocked over and way out in the ocean.  But look at that sunset!

See that buoy..it was knocked over and way out in the ocean. But look at that sunset!

I walked there with my pups and it wasn’t terrifying.  It was calm, peaceful, beautiful.  I watched the sunset and I knew that it didn’t matter if I was here or there, whatever happened would happen.  A first for me, a knowing that I’d done all I could do to make things right and with or without me being somewhere else, everything would work out.

My sweet babies.

My sweet babies.

It always does.  And, for the first time in a long time, I feel good, ready to laugh.

Here’s to firsts!  I’ve got many planned this year.  I’m sure some will be wonderful, others painful, but it’s all just the sweet messiness of life .

What are some of your firsts?

Happy First Monday of 2013.

About Brigitte



60 thoughts on “Monday Musings and Motivations — Part Thirty-Two — Firsts

  1. I’m the first commenter!! I think. Unless someone types faster than I do.

    I remember my first kiss, too… Danny, under the trees. We were seven. It was love that lasted until we were 7 and a half.

    Then, he met Debbie Hecker, the nemesis of my childhood. I gave him back his ring made from the choke chain his dog outgrew. Heartbreak!!

    Posted by Addie | January 7, 2013, 11:09 am
    • Hey Addie, why you are the first and thank you! Danny, huh? When I was that young, that kiss for me was Tommy. He moved away before a “Debbie” came along. ;). And I didn’t have a cool dog choke-chain ring to give back to him either. Lucky girl, you. :D.

      Posted by Brigitte | January 7, 2013, 11:15 am
      • It’s those ‘y’ names, damn them!! Yes, it was a very cool ring, that only fit my thumb, so, I was very chic before chic was chic, if you know what I mean. We’d stand there, lips locked, no idea what to do beyond that. Isn’t it funny, I can still remember his little boy scent.

        Posted by Addie | January 7, 2013, 12:03 pm
      • I do know what you mean and I can tell from you blog you are tres’ chic, my dear! I just love that boy scent. Smell is such a huge factor in memories, don’t ya think?

        Posted by Brigitte | January 7, 2013, 4:57 pm
  2. First time I have nothing to say except I enjoyed this post.

    Posted by on thehomefrontandbeyond | January 7, 2013, 11:33 am
  3. ‘Firsts’ are always scary. The trick is to rack up a number of them in different venues, so that they get easier with time. Or at least we learn better how to cope with them. Cute pups!

    Posted by Carrie Rubin | January 7, 2013, 11:34 am
  4. Brigitte, I still have my first love note (on a sheet of loose leaf paper)! I was in second grade. He was in fifth. “I think I might like you. I like the way you twirl a baton,” he wrote. I was a majorette, smitten and shy. T. (Sophie and Baxter are adorable!!)

    Posted by Theadora | January 7, 2013, 11:41 am
    • Wow, T — now that’s something! How cool you saved that. Did you always like older men? ;). I just bet you twirled a mean baton. Thank you — yeah, Sophie and Baxter — they’re my babes. Nice to see you again, my friend.

      Posted by Brigitte | January 7, 2013, 11:44 am
  5. Nice photos Brigitte. I remember the first time I stood beneath a running jet engine. It was scary and thrilling. I could feel the vibration in my bones. I remember the first time I drove a car. It too was scary and thrilling. Still is. ha!

    Posted by Honie Briggs | January 7, 2013, 12:03 pm
    • Hey Honie, thank you — not in same ballpark as your photography, but I try. ;). That does sound scary and something I’ve not done! The car thing — yeah, I grew up in the country and I think I learned to drive when I was about 14. It was scary but scary in a good way. Thank you!

      Posted by Brigitte | January 7, 2013, 4:57 pm
  6. Hey Brigitte! I don’t remember my first kiss, been too many years ago. I remember my first job, my first paycheck! I went out and bought me a record player with that first paycheck. It was so nice to have my own money!

    Posted by JackieP | January 7, 2013, 12:21 pm
  7. Dear Brigitte, LOOOOOVVVVEEEE Sophie and Baxter! I remember the first time I fell in love. I was six years old and he was much, much older. It was scary, incomprehensible, and delicious all at the same time. It also endured for many years and paved the way for me being the woman I am today…and I rather like her! xoxoM

    Posted by Margarita | January 7, 2013, 12:28 pm
  8. I’m an odd-duck…I sort of have an ‘adjustment’ disorder – so change where I feel trapped makes my stomach sink…like changing jobs or the FIRST day of a job… but changing houses – that I like (but don’t get to indulge much in!). I loved my first meeting with my husband and the first date and the first kiss etc… my favorite first was waking up in his house for the first time..heaven 🙂

    Posted by Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher | January 7, 2013, 1:08 pm
    • Change scares me too but it’s the one thing that WILL always happen. I loved meeting my hubby too — I remember the first time I knew that he was THE ONE. I bought my first house on my own and that was a sweet first! Thanks for sharing yours, Ruta and nice to see you again!

      Posted by Brigitte | January 7, 2013, 5:02 pm
  9. Hi Brigitte happy first monday of 2013 to you too! Looking forward to our first writing group meeting for 2013. I remember many firsts – including a first crush and ensuing heartbreak at the ripe old age of eleven I think. The most remarkable one has to be – my first baby – she was a game changer that one! 🙂

    Posted by Brinda | January 7, 2013, 1:52 pm
    • Hey Brinda to you as well, dear friend! I am so looking forward to it as well. Oh, now that’s a wonderful first — your first sweet baby and thank you for sharing it with me. I can’t wait to see you!!! (p.s. now we REALLY have to write something, don’t we?) 😉

      Posted by Brigitte | January 7, 2013, 5:03 pm
  10. Great Post – thanks for sharing – new beginnings and firsts! Happy Monday:)

    Posted by cravesadventure | January 7, 2013, 2:03 pm
  11. Aww… Brigitte, I love what you wrote here. I especially love the bit about being parched. Your descriptions and observations are so perfect. Your conclusion about firsts and the sweet messiness of life feels cozy to me – I know, “cozy’ seems like the wrong word, but it actually how I felt while reading this — Like you wrapped a cozy blanket around me and reminded me that everything is gonna be all right. Life is messy, but it’s okay, as long as you can look at it through special life loving lenses.
    Thanks for writing this, Brig.

    Posted by A Gripping Life | January 7, 2013, 2:34 pm
    • Hi Lisa, you are SOOOOO good for my ego. Perfect — well, I can’t get any better than that. It’s so nice to know I made you feel cozy which I think means “secure.” That’s a good thing and everything WILL be alright. More than alright — wonderful — just you wait and see. I just KNOW these things sometimes. Thank you for leaving such a heartfelt comment, my friend. xoxo

      Posted by Brigitte | January 7, 2013, 5:06 pm
  12. I’m so glad things are on the upswing! I have had many firsts too (as we all have), some I remember fondly, others not so much. But here’s to many happy firsts to come!

    Posted by Madame Weebles | January 7, 2013, 3:01 pm
    • Hey Weebs! Long time no see, girlfriend but I’m glad you stopped in for a spell. I know what you mean, though — some of those firsts, well I just shudder at the thought of them. And to you too — here’s to your having some stupendous firsts, my friend.

      Posted by Brigitte | January 7, 2013, 5:07 pm
  13. I have lots of firsts just in the weeks since my surgery. They’ve scared the hell out of me for the most part, but since I’ve had so many other firsts I have the knowledge in the back of my head that it will get better. All these firsts will make for a better me, a tougher me.

    Posted by Fish Out of Water | January 7, 2013, 6:19 pm
    • Fish, wow you have been through some firsts! I hope you are on your way to healing. I know it must have been (and is) scary for you but you’re right — it’ll get better. I’ve had to learn this as well and you are right — it does make you stronger. Thanks — so great to hear from you.

      Posted by Brigitte | January 7, 2013, 8:49 pm
  14. “Firsts are scary, painful, exhilarating, mind-blowing, agonizing, spiritual, awe-inspiring — all that stuff that is glorious because we’re alive.”– YUP. Ageless, right?
    I am so glad to read that you feel good and are ready to laugh Brigitte. That makes me smile big.
    And what a beautiful view– lovely sky to drink in.

    Posted by unfetteredbs | January 7, 2013, 6:57 pm
  15. Love the pups! They are adorable. 🙂 I’m hoping this will be a year of good firsts—like the first story published. I remember some firsts, like first kiss, first date, but it takes a bit of time to draw them to mind. I may be an archaeologist and genealogist, but I tend not to think about my personal past that often. I don’t know if that’s normal or not!

    Posted by jmmcdowell | January 7, 2013, 8:07 pm
    • Thanks, JM!! I hope so too and that publishing a story thing hopefully will be one of mine as well. I’ve had some stuff published, but not my fiction so that would be a wonderful first for me. What exactly is normal anyway? ;). Thanks and Happy First Monday!

      Posted by Brigitte | January 7, 2013, 8:52 pm
  16. Brigitte,
    This is the first time this year a Le Clown comment will…….. not make you cringe! Happy 2013.
    Le Clown

    Posted by Le Clown | January 7, 2013, 8:37 pm
    • Le Clown, SO nice to see you — I’ve missed you dropping by and leaving your indelible mark. You, make me cringe?? No, never. Surprise, shock, laugh, maybe a bit ticked off, but cringe — no! Happy 2013 to you my friend and thank you.

      Posted by Brigitte | January 7, 2013, 8:53 pm
  17. Those pups. Those pups! Such cuties! C was the best first I’ve ever had because she’s given me the ability to see my husband as a father for the first time and me as a mother for the first time.

    Posted by Emily @ The Waiting | January 7, 2013, 8:38 pm
    • I know, right? Thank you, Em. Yeah, I’d have to agree with on your favorite first, C. She is a beautiful, precious girl and I just bet you and your other half are wonderful parents — that a very nice first. Thanks, Em.

      Posted by Brigitte | January 7, 2013, 8:54 pm
  18. I’m glad that life continues to offer up firsts – I rode on a train for the first time last Spring. It was wonderful and I plan on doing it again this spring – lovely post.

    Posted by artsifrtsy | January 7, 2013, 9:02 pm
    • Hi Artsi and nice to see you. I love trains. Hubby and I rode from NYC to DC last year and it was great! I would take it over flying any day, but often it takes way longer. I won’t to ride on one with a sleeping berth,though. And thank you so much. Here’s to many more exciting firsts!

      Posted by Brigitte | January 8, 2013, 9:44 am
      • My sister and I took the California Zephyr from San Francisco to Denver – we had a sleeper and it was a blast. They take great care of you – it is so much more relaxing than flying!

        Posted by artsifrtsy | January 8, 2013, 10:48 am
  19. Firsts use to scare me and I’d shy away from them as much as I could until I somehow found the exhilarating side to firsts. I’ve been living a lot of firsts since I moved to Taiwan and I anticipate a lot more firsts this year. As you said, some will be good, some not so good, but such is life.

    Posted by lillianccc | January 7, 2013, 9:38 pm
    • They did me too, Lillian and still do sometimes! I just bet you’ve got some interesting and exciting firsts to share since your move! I look forward to hearing all about them in 2013! Thank you.

      Posted by Brigitte | January 8, 2013, 8:29 am
  20. I’m very glad you’re finally home again Brigitte. That’s a terrific first. I love your pups! The look like two adorable rascals. A friend is visiting from out of town. We walked around so much this evening I have developed my first blister of the New Year. That is a painful first for sure. I also ate my first Magnolia cupcake of 2013. That was definitely a sweet first.

    Posted by lameadventures | January 7, 2013, 11:57 pm
    • Hi V, thanks — they’re my babies and I appreciate your welcome. It’s easy to develop blisters (and aching feet) when walking around the city. Comfortable shoes, I learned the hard way, are an absolute must. How do people walk around in those high heels — how do they do it??!! We’ve walked by the legendary Magnolia Bakery but every time it’s been so crowded. Is it all it’s cracked up to be? That will have to be on my list of first this year. Thank you!!

      Posted by Brigitte | January 8, 2013, 8:31 am
      • My close personal fashionista bud, Coco, not only wears sky-high heels that blow the little that remains of my mind, but I once saw her jump off a three and half foot tall loading dock wearing red soled Louboutins and spot the landing. I told her that if she ever would consider switching romantic allegiances from the male to the female species, don’t call me maybe, call me first.

        As for Magnolia, the best time to visit is off-times. Monday was one of those times. Friday night and weekends are the worst. I like their cupcakes because they’re on the small side and they’re always freshly baked with soft icing.

        Posted by lameadventures | January 8, 2013, 11:13 am
      • Dear gawd, now that’s a talented woman. I can walk in high heels for brief periods of time but get in a bad mood quickly when they start hurting my feet. Perhaps you can meet a woman with high-heeled skills, V — that’s most likely your soul mate.

        We’ll have to check that out — on Monday — I’ve heard it’s a virtual hotspot for celebrities there. Like I care, but I’m just sayin.

        Posted by Brigitte | January 8, 2013, 11:31 am
      • The Magnolia in my ‘hood, the kid-friendly Upper West Side, seems to be more of a hotspot for the small fry.

        Posted by lameadventures | January 8, 2013, 11:41 am
      • Well lemme know if you see any on the B-list. Whatever that means. 😀

        Posted by Brigitte | January 8, 2013, 11:42 am
  21. I love firsts..sometimes they don’t turn out to swell, other times they are wonderful..either way new things, first things are what makes our lives interesting.. So here’s to many “first’s for all of us!!

    Posted by free penny press | January 8, 2013, 6:18 am
  22. Oh, what a sweet post, Brigitte. That is a gorgeous sunset and your dogs are so cute! I’m happy you’re back in your home and feeling some relief. “Firsts”…that’s a great topic. It was a first for me to go away to school at 17. I never looked back. That was a big one in my life. I grew a lot from it, and couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t want to leave home or their comfort zone. It was such an adventure!

    Posted by The Bumble Files | January 8, 2013, 1:45 pm
    • Hey Amy, thank you! It’s good to be back. I too left “home” at a tender age because I’d wanted to travel ever since I could read about faraway places. What’s that saying? “Wouldn’t take nothing for my journey.” Something like that and yes, it’s been an adventure ever since. :).

      Posted by Brigitte | January 8, 2013, 1:57 pm
  23. Another lovely post! I think it’s wonderful that you remember all these firsts. Like you seem to do (although you didn’t put it into these words exactly), I choose to imbue the events in my life with significance. As with your “firsts,” these occurrences retain rich meaning for me long after they’ve passed into memory.

    As a father of boys who are still pretty young, the older boys just starting school, I have the opportunity to re-experience to a degree some “firsts.” Christmas this year was pretty cool. In the years before I had kids I had allowed it to become an obligation and almost a grind (which was entirely a result of my attitude; I don’t mean to suggest that you need to have kids to appreciate the holiday–that’s just what it took for me), but was really special this year, and actually has me looking forward to Christmas next year. But these moments, like any precious moment in life, are only significant if we remember to make them significant. To illustrate, I give you my Christmas memories of years past, which run together in a soupy blur because I failed to recognize what was beautiful about them at the time.

    As far as “firsts,” well, on those many, many occasions when i find myself unable to perform in the bedroom, I always assure my partner that it’s the first time I’ve ever had this problem.

    Posted by Smaktakula | January 8, 2013, 7:09 pm
    • Why thank you, Smak. Yeah, some of those good and bad firsts do retain rich meaning because they teach us soooo much about ourselves and in the end, that’s really what it’s about — “The race is long and in the end, it’s only with ourselves.” Or something like that. What a great first and significant Christmas for you, Smak. Children help to remember just what it’s really about I think and them leaving the nest must have been a good and a “bad” one. They’re growing up and all that comes with that, huh?

      As far as your last problem, I’m sure your partner has told you, “It happens to everyone!” Yeah, sure that’s right. 😀

      Posted by Brigitte | January 9, 2013, 9:15 am
  24. Hmmm… firsts. Okay… first (and last) time I ever jumped out of a plane. It was cool but once was enough! First time I ever lived and hiked in the woods (Yosemite) for 4 days with only the stuff strapped on my back… it certainly tested my limits! First time I realized you can love someone and still need to leave them… not sure that one will ever stop stumping me. First time I realized I was walking somebody else’s path instead of choosing my own . . . how does that even happen and why does it sometimes take the better part of your life to come to the realization? I think that’ll do it for now!! 🙂

    Posted by Swimming In The Mud | January 8, 2013, 11:00 pm
    • You know, Sue I used to say I wanted to do that — jump out of a plane — but I waited too long and now I think to myself — No, are you freaking crazy??!! So that’s one first that I didn’t attempt and now it’s over for me. I’ve not done that 4-day hiking thing either — wow, you are a nature-girl-brave-soul for that one. I love electricity and toliets. That walking someone else’s path, yep been there. I think it does take a long time to realize what our path is — some of us it takes longer — but I’m thinking you’re always on it, you just veer off sometimes. That’s my theory anyway — thanks for your nice comment — that’s definitely not a first for you here at my place and as always, it’s appreciated.

      Posted by Brigitte | January 9, 2013, 9:18 am
      • Nice to see you getting interesting and thoughtful responses from so many. You certainly seem to be delivering the thought-provoking stuff that keeps folks coming back. A well-deserved audience. Good for you!!!

        Posted by Swimming In The Mud | January 9, 2013, 7:31 pm
  25. A year of firsts. I love that idea.

    Posted by WomanBitesDog | January 11, 2013, 6:11 pm
  26. Thank you JM!

    Posted by Brigitte | January 13, 2013, 8:05 am


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