Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Life is a series of firsts...

About ready to pop!
I arrived home today (in gorgeous, 83 degree Indiana!) to see these lovelies coming into bloom.  Only a couple of the flowers on another plant were actually in bloom.  I always, always, always forget these guys live in my side yard...until the day they catch my eye each spring as they are coming into bloom.  Then I snap loads of photos of them and enjoy them for a fleeting few days.  The previous owners planted them, and they still look beautiful each spring. I think this year, I'm going to cut a bouquet and bring it inside to enjoy as soon as they bloom.

I had stories from today's prompts for the Scintilla Project running through my head over the course of the day...yet I was amazed at how often they ran together.  The two prompt options...1) who are you? and 2) Life is a series of firsts.  Talk about one of your most important firsts.  What did you learn? Was it something you incorporated into your life as a result?...just kept running together into one jumbly mess...let's see if I can make a little something of it and give you a bit more of my story.

During most of my drive into work today I was stuck on that second question.  What are my "firsts"?  For me, the best firsts are found in those ordinary moments that, when savored, make life extraordinary.  Off and on during the morning I kept thinking about my first plane ride.  I was in middle school and we were flying to Phoenix for my cousin Steve's wedding to Diane.  Mom, Dad, Grandma and I were flying TWA - which gives you a bit of an idea of how long ago it was.

I was petrified at the thought of getting on a plane!  We got on the plane and were seated right in the front.  It was a cool seating arrangement too - mom and dad were facing us (they were facing "the wrong way" - like a flight attendant) and we had a small table between them and us - sort of like a dinner table.  As we taxied out to the runway, my grandma took my hand and held it tight - tighter than I knew she could.  Mom was facing backwards (like a flight attendant does) and she was trying so hard to be brave for me (as she hadn't flown in years!) that she underestimated how discomforting it would be to take off facing "the wrong way".  As the plane pulled up into the air, she gasped and grabbed my dad's arm...hard!

It was at that moment, I realized two things about my life:
  • I rarely need to worry...especially when I can't do anything about it.  
One of my favorite sayings came from a church sign, near my hometown, many years ago..."Worry is debt you paid on a loan you never owed."  I work hard to live that mantra every day...and not worry on things over which I have no control.  
You see, in that momentary gasp my mom let out, I realized that my rock solid mom...a woman whose confidence and attitude were always so incredibly strong...was worried to death for me...because of the fear I had expressed.  I hated that she went through that...and so I decided that whenever I could be, I'd be a sea of calm....just as she'd always been for me - and usually still is.  It was such a tiny thing...a single exhalation of air...but it made me see worry couldn't do me any good as it had only made her so nervous she'd not thought about her own comfort and enjoyment of the experience.  

  • I LOVE to fly!
I was not scared from the moment we lifted off the ground and I stuck my nose up to the glass to see out of the window.  I even made grandma switch seats with me so I could keep my face pressed to that window most of the flight.  I was so disappointed on the return flight home that we were on a big plane and stuck in a middle aisle so I couldn't watch out the window.  We had a connecting flight in St. Louis that was a much smaller plane so I made dad switch seats with me so I could watch out the window again.  Seeing all the lights of all the towns coming in and out of view on the incredibly amazing!
 I'm not a road warrior, but I get in about 50,000 miles a year by air travel and even with the challenges of today's airlines, I still love it.  What's not to love about floating in the clouds?

On our way home
 Was flying on an airplane for the first time one of my most important firsts? Maybe...maybe not. Does it lead to explaining who I am? I think it so.  You see, I am a product of the family who loved me enough to worry about me and try so hard to hide their own fears and hesitations to keep me calm.  I am the product of a family who has now lost my grandmother and my cousin Diane whose wedding we were attending. We are a family now working to accept that my mom - that rock solid fixture in my life and the life of our family - is battling Parkinson's disease.  I have been so fortunate to share so many trips with my vacations to Michigan, Arizona, and Florida as well as a few highlight trips like San Diego and Maui.  She's growing more content now to leave the traveling to me as the disease makes life a tiny bit more challenging for her each day.

I am also a person who has been formed by loads of amazing experiences that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't conquered that first fear...lots of firsts.  The first time I saw Monet's "Water Lilies" at L'Orangerie in Paris and wanted to cry...the first time I saw Big Ben in London and heard its chimes and felt at home - a feeling that means so much to me...the first time I strolled along the black sand beach in Hana, Maui (which I've been so lucky to do more than once) and understood the truly unique experience of that place...the first time I floated above the water in a parasail....and on, and on, and on.  These are the extraordinary moments...the extra special ones you plan for and you save for and you pray for.  

But I am also a person who appreciates the ordinary firsts that happen all around us each day.  The ordinary moments that make every day extraordinary if only I take time to notice them and savor them.  Moments llike the first day each spring you notice the daffodils in bloom.

What do your firsts say about you? What's blooming in your life that you need to stop and savor?

Have you heard of the Scintilla Project?  If not, you can find out more here.  For the next 14 days, I'll periodically be blogging using their prompts.


  1. There's so much joy in this post. It was great to read!

    1. Jyllian - thanks so much. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for visiting.

  2. Cool. I had forgotten you went to Phoenix for Steve and Di's wedding. What about all the first tastes of new foods......

    1. I did. I don't remember why we didn't all fly together though. First tastes of new food are definitely a highlight of my life...

  3. This is the most beautiful thing you've every written (that I've read). It made me cry.

    1. Thanks G...that's very sweet of you!

  4. I'm often stymied by the question of important firsts - but your post is definitely food for thought! Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much Cheri. I'm glad you enjoyed it.


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