We all remember the firsts: those monumental moments that shape your life and those around you. The moments that take your breath away. The first word. The first step. The first “I love you”. The first day of school. The first kiss. The first goodbye. Firsts that impact our journeys down the long and sinuous path of life.
This week during #Blogust, we have heard firsts from some inspiring bloggers. Meagan Francis of The Happiest Home kicked off the week shares her elation and anxiety as school approaches. It will be the first time in 17 years of motherhood that all five of her children will be in full day school.
On Tuesday, Tiffany Merritt of Stuff Parents Need talks about how hard it is to let go as her daughter goes off to Kindergarten in her beautiful post “Blogust Can Keep Singing“.
On Wednesday, Erika Nicole Kendall of Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss moves us with hersoulful writing about the first time her now husband asked her to make a commitment and the first time she said yes.
On Thursday, Lorraine Robertson of Run Wifey Run shares heartfelt realizations her children are becoming independent, young adults as they enter middle school.
We wrapped up the week with Lorraine Ladish of Viva Fifty who shares her daughter’s first dance, a delightful reflection on young womanhood.
For me, the most defining firsts of my life have surprisingly taken place in adulthood. The first time I looked into my soul mate’s eyes. The first time I cradled my brand new son. The first time I climbed a 18,000 foot peak. The first time I boarded a plane for a global volunteer trip alone. However, by far the most powerful first was the first time I realized that I had a voice and could use it.
I was half way around the world, hiking the Annapurna Trek in Nepal with my dad. It was the culmination of years of traveling, hiking and following my wanderlust. As I arrived at the first village, there were brilliantly colorful prayer flags swaying in the wind, the smell of burning incense and the distant bells jingling from the mule trains and Buddhist prayer wheels. I saw a woman sitting upon a stoop, shoeless and weathered from years of hard labor in the fields.
She held an old prayer book in her hand and hummed in a language I couldn’t understand. She could not have been much older than me yet our lives were worlds apart. She remained in that spot the entire day, quietly singing, smiling to the passersby and never once opening that book. Her poverty was apparent and like most Nepalese women she most likely never learned to read or write. She and her family lived without electricity, running water, toilets, education, health care or materialistic goods. Yet somehow she survived.
At that moment I wondered about fate and destiny. How could it be that this woman’s life was so incredibly different than my own? That I was there, in a tiny, rural village carrying on my back more than this woman might possibly ever have in her lifetime. I realized my own opportunities and that I had a voice. I could make a difference and even if small, I could help change the world.
I returned home a different person and from that point on, my life has been filled with life-changing firsts. My first blog post. My first international volunteer trip. My first fundraiser to build a school in Nepal. My first meeting on Capitol Hill as an advocate for Shot@Life. My first social good post. My first philanthropic blogging trip to India, and most recently my first trip as a reporting fellow to Ethiopia where I wrote about maternal and newborn health. Each and every new first has somehow worked to create a chain reaction of more firsts that together have lead me down a life changing journey I never dreamed possible. Firsts that take my breath away.
What I’ve realized throughout it all, is how simple it can be to give back and make a difference in the world. With #Blogust, you can too. A comment or a share via social media provides one vaccine to a child who needs it most. You will be part of the change and help a child fulfill their dreams and live to see their own firsts.
During Shot@Life’s Blogust 2014—a month-long blog relay—some of North America’s most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions will come together and share stories about Happy and Healthy Firsts. Every time you comment on this post and other Blogust contributions, or share them via social media on this website, Shot@Life and the United Nations Foundation pages, Walgreens will donate one vaccine (up to 60,000). Blogust is one part an overall commitment of Walgreens donating up to $1 million through its “Get a Shot. Give a Shot.®” campaign. The campaign will help provide millions of vaccines for children in need around the world.