You never forget your first time. History can repeat itself multiple times over, but the very first always holds a special place. Its not that what comes later is any less important – there can be experiences far more fulfilling or relationships which endure longer – but there is still a sigh of deja vu. I was here before, I ‘remember’, and that is undeniable. The excitement, the anticipation, the sheer joy (or sorrow) of it is less even if by an infinitesimal, unmeasurable amount.
She knows she came ‘second’. Adored, protected, loved – she is happy. But her subconscious mind has already picked up the signals from somewhere faraway in time – hands which are tender but firm rather than clutching and nervous…voices calm and reassuring with no ring of panic in them…’capable’ parents…less anxious, less frantic. Sometimes, but not often, it makes her a little forlorn.
That is before she begins to pick up another little signal blip which was not on the radar earlier, but getting stronger by the minute. Two little eyes peering from behind cupboards and over the crib. Often shoo-ed away by distracted clucks, only to return with a relentless persistence. Clutching nervous hands, ecstatic at finally being given the first crucial responsibility of holding the feeding bottle. Tiny voice raised in alarm, gathering the whole household at her bedside on hearing the slightest whimper. Frenzied running around of little feet when asked to fetch. Someone, who had been waiting for her impatiently even without knowing what the wait was really for. Who was already having a little heart thrown into a flutter worrying about her. Someone, who was going through all the little triumphs and trials a new parent goes through. For someone, she was – and always would be – first.