Firsts are monumental. Inaugural. Annual. They say you always remember the milestones, the annuals, the inaugurals.
You were there for those firsts during my first few years of life: my first tooth, first steps, first boo-boo. Always supporting me. Always cheering me on.
When I grew up, you stood by me for the next wave of firsts: my first bad grade, my first heartbreak, the first fight with friends, my first solo in choir, my first stitches. You stayed by my side during the pain from your divorce and dried my tears when Dad moved out. You even loved me through the first time I went to detention. And honestly, all throughout the ages of 11 through 13.
You cheered me on and celebrated my driver’s license (with bated breath I imagine), my first prom and homecoming dances, when I met my now-husband for the first time my sophomore year of high school, the really bad ballet recitals, and when I applied to college.
I remember the first time you drew me a picture of an angel with your signature mommy phrase, “Do your best, and an angel can’t do better.”
You walked with me down the aisle. You helped me decorate my first home. You stood in the crowd cheering for me when I graduated high school, college, and when I sang at The Wizards game (which we can ALL still hear).
You held my hand as I struggled with infertility. You hugged me when you found out you were going to be a grandmother. You cried alongside me when I was hospitalized for preterm labor. You cried tears of joy when your grandangels were born, healthy and happy.
You listened intently while I shared my struggles in motherhood and while I cried the first day I was alone with the girls. You stayed with the girls my first day back at work, taught them their first goofy, made-up song, and gave them their first nick-names.
You answered my call when they had their first fever, their first crawl, and step. You gave them their first Little Tikes car, horse, baby doll, and stroller. You helped me with their first wiggly tooth and their first trips to the emergency room. You reminded me to make up silly songs while waiting for stitches.
You saw me walk across the stage when I finished my master’s degree. You were there listening to me gab after my first of many music therapy sessions.
All the firsts. All the inaugurals. Except for the biggest one.
You weren’t there for my first real heartbreak. And that was losing you.
Their first heartbreak—losing their MeeMommy.
I was not prepared for the first time I had to explain Heaven, death, or why we wear black at funerals. I was not prepared for being responsible for not only stitching myself back up but my brother too.
But then, in the quiet moments, I listen and I look, and I see that you did, in fact, prepare me.
I sing silly songs with your grandangels. I hold their hand when they are scared or dry their tears when they are sad. I breathe deeply when they are sassy. I remind them to do their best, and an angel can’t do better.
You were teaching me the entire time.
I’ll be there for the firsts. The inaugurals. The annuals.
I will continue to instill all of what you taught me. You taught me love. You taught me kindness. You taught me to be a mommy. So now I continue.