Thank You, Firstborn

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Dear Firstborn,

The minute I saw those two pink lines, you handed me my first of many firsts. Every step of pregnancy with you was brand new. You and I together, drawing back the curtains on a whole world of firsts, motherhood. 

firstborn
Photo Credit: Tara Strohl Photography

When you were a baby, every little step we took was scary. The first time navigating breastfeeding, first shots (that was a tough one), first time with a sitter, going back to work. Your dad and I Googled everything. Every transition, every milestone, every new tooth or mystery rash had me worried. I read books and talked with family and friends, trying to be prepared for all the “new.” Yet somehow, as time does, the days just slipped by, and before we knew it, each transition was behind us. We overcame tough weeks and sleepless nights, celebrated big moments and small ones too.

The thing about being the firstborn is just that. You’re first, for everything. Suddenly all these moments are more your firsts, than mine. As you’ve grown, we’ve nervously given you the nudge time and time again. Sent you off on your adventures, learning as we go. The first day of preschool, first playdates or parties without Mom and Dad, first time getting on that big yellow bus. As a fellow firstborn myself, I see you. You’re paving the way for your siblings, giving them the gift of experience and comfort when their day rolls around.

Going first isn’t easy, though. I know you feel scared every time another first rolls around. Someday you’ll know that behind the reassuring smiles and hugs was a parent feeling equally new and without control of these first days. I talk with friends about all our experiences, I read and reread every email. I pack the bag twice to make sure it’s all there, and I plan out exactly how and when to talk with you about each new adventure. 

It can be scary being first. But here’s the thing. You’re pretty amazing. You’re resilient, you’re smart, and you’re brave. Going first has pushed you to master the art of bending and reshaping at each of life’s turns. You’re no stranger to nerves, and because of that, you now know the great feeling that comes with growing comfortable in a routine. Being the firstborn is shaping you into the strong, capable person you’ll grow to be. It’s okay to be nervous, okay to ask me to tell you what to expect again and again, and most certainly okay to cry on my shoulder when you need to, my love. I’m feeling everything you’re feeling, but I won’t show you. I know you’ll be alright, and you’ll be bursting with stories of new adventures when I see you next.  

Someday I’ll thank you for going first. For walking with me hand in hand through all these moments. For each tear and extra goodbye hug. You’ll have kids of your own, and as you experience the wild ride of raising your first little human, you’ll have the realization that that was your place, too. Every family has a firstborn, and you should wear that title like a badge of honor. A parent has a special little place in their heart for the one who goes first. 

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