Your Firsts

Image of Short Story
The hardest thing I will ever do is to let you go.

I’m thinking of holding you, your sweet weight in my hands so fragile-soft and impossible. New. Your eyes were the blue of the babies who could turn anything from gray to brown. They held my universe. I loved watching them change to hazel. Green.

“Your feet flashed like silvered fish near the lake’s shore when you ran. Your belly-deep chortle gave me wings. It was another step further away. It made me love you all the more when you came back to my arms so I could hold you the way I held you inside me and protect you from everything except myself. As parents, we’re doomed to be our children’s Achilles Heels, intentions be damned.

Your first day of school the heavens opened to such a downpour—no, sun. Your hand in mine was as warm as my heart. I wanted to give you the world, to watch you take it wide-armed with feet spread, your hair a golden—a caramel cloud—while you spun, spun, spun.

The years flowed faster, a river carrying you further from my shore. I wasn’t privy to the kiss, the one that left you breathless and reeling with hearts on paper and 2:00 AM texts under your covers. We had the talk. No, I won’t dwell on it, not when there are birthdays and As and Bs, SATs, college applications, a precious acceptance and another first you never had to tell me. I knew. You glowed.

You found the one, the one, the one, and then the one. Then it was your father’s turn to give you away, and I thought, “I suppose that’s fair. Let him get a small taste of what I went through at the first.” But that isn’t fair, and I’ll never say it again, not aloud and not inside. It’s nothing alike.

I’m sorry if I got it all wrong. It’s hard to make a life whole cloth from a tiny blue scrap. I couldn’t wait to tell you all of it because when they come, they’ll put you in a box. It will hold your fragile body, but it will never, could never hold you. Your might-have-beens. Your firsts.