We're having a series of firsts. Each one has its own difficulty in facing the reality of how our life was and how our life is, well, black and white, night and day, in and out, up and down. It's just completely the other side of the coin. Today we went to the casino.
Tonight was the first time we talked about our firsts. The first time we ate together in public, the first time we went to the movie, the first time we went for a walk....Each one has some memory that has to be faced, remembered, pined, and erased. Each one has an element of embarassement or of adaptation. Or even anger. As our firsts get more frequent our adaptability gets more power and our "everyone's looking at us" gets smaller and loses its strength.
The first time we had a meal in public was accompanied by anger and shame and carefulness. We were not very successful. Being a grown man who has always been in charge of life having to be fed, and then dropping a cookie because you try, and then having food on your shirt....It's almost unbearable. But we didn't talk about it. We just went home, went to sleep and knew that we will always eat in private But now, now the waitress brings extra long straws and we laugh about whos bite it is. Firsts that are allowed to become seconds get better.
The first time we went to the movie was humbling. The handicapped area is very close to the front. Everyone sees. Everyone knows. But as the films play on and the movie "club" expands, movie night becomes important, an evening away from early to bed and reruns of "Bones." Being social is not dependent upon arms and legs.
But today we went to the casino. Jed and I have lovely (and some not so lovely) memories of casinos. It was our place to laugh and forget. Today we remembered and it was painful. We were big about it, but it was painful. Jed used to light up a craps table with his loud silliness and his cowboy hat. Today he awkwardly manuevered around people and graciously waited while I endulged. Tonight he said, "I feel like I should apologize to you." Apologize. Apologize for trying?, for making the effort?, for giving me an afternoon of randomness? That's when we talked about firsts.
We will either have many many firsts or we will stay in this living room, sleep and watch TV. Firsts are necessary. They are theraputic. Without them we would die a very slow and sheltered death. I'm proud of Jed for, no matter how uncomfortable or how awkward or how embarassing or painful, he is willing to do firsts.