I didn't know how hard it would be to miss any "firsts" - not just the big ones like first words, first steps, but the little ones too. Today, my son, S, is going over to a friend's house after school - for the first time. On this small journey he will ride a new school bus for the first time, in another parent's car without a car seat, for the first time, play at a house I've not been to, for the first time, and his father will get to pick him up and hear all the details first.
(For the record, he hasn't needed to use a car seat in this state for quite a long time, but because he's on the smaller side, and so his sister doesn't feel left out, we still use them).
He's learning so much at kindergarten, there are so many things I didn't know I'd need to know yet. What did our parents do without the Internet for quick answers? I didn't know I'd need to do any kind of research for "Show and Tell" - but the children needed to tell about Abraham Lincoln a while back and my son was asking questions I couldn't answer without help.
Most of all, I didn't know about that feeling. That warm, calming feeling that starts in your belly and spreads out to your toes and fingers. That feeling that stays with you for hours, and if it fades you can recreate it with a visual memory. That feeling that I get just before I go to bed at night. The one that comes with the final checking of the sleeping children. Moving a book from under a cheek, moving the right leg back onto the bed and recovering the child with a NASCAR blanket, brushing one more small kiss across the forehead - THAT feeling. I didn't know - but now I do.