Life is filled with firsts, and they usually pack a wallop.

First kiss.  Oh, boy, that first kiss is a doozy.  So much uncertainty and confusion wrapped up in an explosion of feelings and fireworks.  So much opportunity for bumping noses and awkward misses.  So much anxiety about bad breath and whether they like you back and if you’re any good at kissing at all.  It’s one of those rites of passage…there’s nothing quite like the first first kiss.

First pet.  Some folks have their first pet as children, a special experience with unconditional love from another living creature.  The pet that truly holds the Power of Firsts, though, is one you get once you’ve moved out of your parents’ home.  This is the pet you take responsibility for, the one you promise to love and care for.  It’s the first time you move from a family pet to one of your own, and being accountable for another being’s life makes that love all the sweeter.

First car.  To a teenager cars mean freedom.  Power.  A new kind of independence.  It gives them the chance to explore their world while still having the safety of home base.  But buying your first car?  That’s a major life event.  It means responsibility, privilege, a chance to express yourself by choosing what kind of car to drive.  It’s pretty cool when you think about it.

First apartment.  That first move toward independence is energizing.  No longer under your parents’ roof, out of college housing and R.A. oversight – even if you’re splitting the bills with roommates you are now On Your Own.  Eat the food you want, sleep when you want, watch what you want.  Sure, you gotta work that j.o.b. to pay the bills but it is so worth the tradeoff for a chance to be under your own roof.

First house.  If you thought your first apartment was a biggie then you’d better buckle up for this one.  Everything from the umpteen pages of legal papers you sign to being responsible for yard work and repairs suddenly rests firmly on your shoulders.  The decisions are endless, the bills often a surprise…on the other hand, the place is your own.  If the mood strikes paint every room purple, hang a disco ball in the dining room, and boogie down in your birthday suit.  It’s your pad, baby.

First kid.  Lawdy, lawdy.  This one’s arguably the biggest First of all.  Everything changes after you bring a munchkin into your life.  Bills, schedules, priorities, sleep, food, your familiarity with everything from nursery rhymes to Caillou – it’s all up grabs once a kid shows up.  You’ll also have to develop entirely new skill sets: Latch systems, car seat buckles, swaddling, the ability to function on 2.5 hours sleep, mastering the football hold and jiggle/burp.  Even better, the First stage goes on and on and on, for about eighteen years or so.  I hear it makes for quite a ride.