First Words and Other Firsts: Open any baby diary and you will find whole pages devoted to firsts: first smile, first words, first friends, first birthday. Why are firsts so significant? Because they represent a beginning. Because they push us beyond what is familiar and comfortable. Because they jolt us out of the numbness or everyday life and bring us back to our primitive selves when we saw a world through a child's eyes. Keeping in mind that first experiences do not end with babyhood, write about a first: the first day of kindergarten, the first day of college, the first grandchild. Or simply begin with the writing start "the first time" and write down the first thing that comes to mind.
The first time I saw the man who became my second husband wasn't supposed to be the first time I saw the man who became my second husband.
A few days after Paul and I were "introduced" by an online-dating site, we were e-mailing each other several times a day, and we had decided we wanted to meet in person. We planned lunch at a local mall for the following weekend - we had to work around his custody schedule, and I wanted a little more time to correspond in the meantime. I like to be prepared when I meet people. We chose the location - an Italian restaurant in the mall - and the time - Sunday at noon - because they were pretty casual and open-ended. If things went well, we could wander around the mall afterwards and talk more; if not, one or both of us could manufacture a shopping errand.
The day before, I was excited and nervous about my upcoming first post-divorce date as I went about my weekend errands. While I was waiting in the checkout line in Target, I happened to glance over at the next register, and noticed a tall, sandy-haired guy in line over there. I looked at him carefully - he looked a lot like the picture I'd seen in the online-dating profile for the person I was meeting on Sunday, and I happened to be at the Target in his town instead of my own that day. When he turned his head and I saw his blue eyes and his earring, I thought there was a very good chance this was Paul, and I decided that if I caught his eye, I would ask him if he was.
He left the store without looking my way, but when I got home I sent him a message:
"Were you in the Target in M***** around 11:30 this morning? There was a guy in the next checkout line that looked a lot like you, but if it WAS you, I don't think you saw me. See you tomorrow!"
Later that afternoon, he wrote back:
"HEY! NO FAIR!"
He said he wouldn't have had time to chat then anyway, since he was on his way to his son's T-ball game - and he was glad that I wasn't calling off the date after having seen him!
The next day, I got to the mall early enough to be waiting for him. When he walked through the doors, I knew - this was Target Guy. I almost introduced myself as the Target Stalker, but thought better of it (sometimes I actually do that).
Five hours later, we both knew our first date wouldn't be our last.
In connection with the paperback release of Writing Motherhood, bloggers are posting about "Firsts" today - check out the participant list here (EDITED TO ADD: The link is to the main site. Click the tab labeled "Writing Motherhood Post and Chat"), and visit them to read their takes on the topic. And if you'd like a chance to win a copy of the book, mention one of your own "firsts" in a comment here, or in a post on your own blog linking back here. (Every blog on the list is giving away a copy, so the more blogs you visit and comment on, the better your chances!) Thanks to Vanessa at Chefdruck Musings for inviting me to be part of this event!