“Stand still! Hold it up higher.”
Three little girls, stair-steppers in height with matching blue eyes, each one grabbing an edge of a pencil-lined poster declaring, “First Day of School 2002.”
The shutter clicked, clicked, clicked, while they fidgeted away.
It was a big first day for mom and those girls – the first day of homeschooling after caving into the begs of big sister.
“We’ll just try it one year,” Mom said.
Beep. Beep. Beep!
I throw off the covers, feet meet the carpet.
It’s my last first day of college – potentially, my last first day of school. I cheered at the thought – almost done! No more school!
But trucking my way to class that morning, a series of thoughts landed on me.
First days never end – the emotions of first days at a new job or being jobless, of marriage or singleness, of motherhood or loss, of homes, of vacations or retirement.
The list could circle the globe – our lives are made up of “first days” – they can be met with dread or excitement, delight or anxiety, indifference or indignation.
Silly senior-in-college me was a little slow to the realization – thank God first days don’t end with a diploma.
Each day has the potential to be marked as a “first day.” With a heart filled with wonder, today could be the first day I find joy in walking to class. With a heart bent towards God’s, today could be the first day I delight in washing dishes.
Today could be my first day.
--– Not to be confused with first time. First times can be thrown into the trash bin like yesterday’s junk mail. First days are the launching pad for habits and regularities and patterns – our lives.
Exhibit A: Today could be my first time longboarding, but not my first day. First and I don’t do it again for three months. But first day, it becomes a pastime – I longboard to school, to work, to the store.
[Note: I’ve only longboarded once.]
A first day is a childlike outlook on life – no matter the circumstance of your first day, you can say, “I choose to keep learning and leaning into all the potential this first and the days to follow hold. I put on this teachable, wonder-seeking spirit.”
Learning doesn’t stop with school. Life is an opportunity to see first days, new things – externally and internally, within me and outside of me.
Fourteen years after that first day of homeschooling, Mom’s graduated two of the three, with one year to go. She leaned into the challenge, going beyond mother to be a teacher, and beyond teacher with mentor. She took the days at home to build women and relationships. She embraced the journey and the adventure, the what-am-I-doings and I’m-so-glad-we-homeschool. Even fourteen years in, she’s still learning and soaking up wisdom. She embodies the spirit of first days.
The challenge I present to myself is this: not to 'Seize the day', but to 'Seize the first days'. To embrace the uncomfortable. To develop holy habits and mindsets. To never stop learning.