Adapted from the book Writing Motherhood by Lisa Garrigues, an invitation to write:

First Words and Other Firsts: Open any baby diary and you will find whole pages devoted to firsts: first smile, first words, first friends, first birthday. Why are firsts so significant? Because they represent a beginning. Because they push us beyond what is familiar and comfortable. Because they jolt us out of the numbness or everyday life and bring us back to our primitive selves when we saw a world through a child’s eyes. Keeping in mind that first experiences do not end with babyhood, write about a first: the first day of kindergarten, the first day of college, the first grandchild. Or simply begin with the writing start “the first time” and write down the first thing that comes to mind.

The first time I saw the man who became my second husband wasn’t supposed to be the first time I saw the man who became my second husband.

A few days after Paul and I were “introduced” by an online-dating site, we were e-mailing each other several times a day, and we had decided we wanted to meet in person. We planned lunch at a local mall for the following weekend – we had to work around his custody schedule, and I wanted a little more time to correspond in the meantime. I like to be prepared when I meet people. We chose the location – an Italian restaurant in the mall – and the time – Sunday at noon – because they were pretty casual and open-ended. If things went well, we could wander around the mall afterwards and talk more; if not, one or both of us could manufacture a shopping errand.

The day before, I was excited and nervous about my upcoming first post-divorce date as I went about my weekend errands. While I was waiting in the checkout line in Target, I happened to glance over at the next register, and noticed a tall, sandy-haired guy in line over there. I looked at him carefully – he looked a lot like the picture I’d seen in the online-dating profile for the person I was meeting on Sunday, and I happened to be at the Target in his town instead of my own that day. When he turned his head and I saw his blue eyes and his earring, I thought there was a very good chance this was Paul, and I decided that if I caught his eye, I would ask him if he was.

He left the store without looking my way, but when I got home I sent him a message:

“Were you in the Target in M***** around 11:30 this morning? There was a guy in the next checkout line that looked a lot like you, but if it WAS you, I don’t think you saw me. See you tomorrow!”

Later that afternoon, he wrote back:


He said he wouldn’t have had time to chat then anyway, since he was on his way to his son’s T-ball game – and he was glad that I wasn’t calling off the date after having seen him!

The next day, I got to the mall early enough to be waiting for him. When he walked through the doors, I knew – this was Target Guy. I almost introduced myself as the Target Stalker, but thought better of it (sometimes I actually do that).

Five hours later, we both knew our first date wouldn’t be our last.

In connection with the paperback release of Writing Motherhood, bloggers are posting about “Firsts” today – check out the participant list here (EDITED TO ADD: The link is to the main site. Click the tab labeled “Writing Motherhood Post and Chat”), and visit them to read their takes on the topic. And if you’d like a chance to win a copy of the book, mention one of your own “firsts” in a comment here, or in a post on your own blog linking back here. (Every blog on the list is giving away a copy, so the more blogs you visit and comment on, the better your chances!) Thanks to Vanessa at Chefdruck Musings for inviting me to be part of this event!

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  1. I love how you first laid eyes on your future husband at TARGET. That would be my husband’s dream to get to tell a story like that!

    Mad About Multiples! will be writing about “firsts” today as well, but don’t think any of our stories will top yours.

    Thanks for the run read!

  2. Hi Florinda, this is Lisa Garrigues, author of Writing Motherhood. I must say, I find your story so pleasurable to read, it is witty and funny, romantic but not sappy, very satisfying. I love the pairings of first (date) and second (husband) and of first and last. Great job.

  3. MAM – I love to tell people “We met online, but we ALMOST met at Target.”

    BFHH/Lori – I edited the comment with better directions to the participant list :-). Thanks for letting me know about that!

    WritingMother/Lisa – Thank you! This is actually a story I’ve been wanting to tell here for awhile, and this prompt provided the perfect catalyst! I really appreciate your feedback.

    April – It might be a better story if we’d REALLY met in Target without the online intro, but knowing us, that wouldn’t have happened. We’re just not that outgoing :-).

  4. Mike – Chances are pretty slim, really. But sometimes I wonder if we had ever both been at that Target before, at the same time, and passed each other in one of the aisles…

    But for the record, I was NOT stalking Target trying to meet guys!

  5. Darn! I was going to participate in this yesterday, but my reminder didn’t hit until this morning. DOH! πŸ™

    Well, before I share my “first” I have to say I enjoyed reading yours. Lots of fun indeed. πŸ™‚

    My first I was going to blog about was when my oldest daughter started kindergarten last month. She never went to daycare or preschool, as I am a stay-at-home mom, so when full day kindergarten was upon us I became a total wreck. I bawled my eyes out for weeks in advance just because I couldn’t believe the time had come for my baby girl (she was 2.5 wks away from turning 5 when school started) to leave me. I know it’s silly because it was just kindergarten- not college, but it was so bittersweet none the less. I kept seeing her starting kindergarten as the door to her turning 5 and that being the door to her turning 18 and moving away. Wow, big jump there, huh? LOL I know. I know. I couldn’t help it though. I’m always an emotional wreck for about a month preceeding her birthday anyways, so topped with the milestone achievement of beginning school it was just too much drama for one little ol’ me.

    By the time the first day of school actually rolled around I was absolutely terrified to take my daughter and drop her off. It wasn’t that I didn’t think she was ready. Quite the contrary, I knew she was ready. And it was that readiness that was bugging the crap out of me because that meant she really was growing up and needed me just that tiny bit less than before. I knew she was going to have an absolute blast at school because for the past 2 years it’s all we’ve heard about. All her friends and cousins were in daycare and/or preschool before entering kindergarten, so she’d already watched all of them go and was desperate to get in on the action. Plus being home with me all the time I was able to really work with her on a pre-k level at home, and by the time she started kindergarten she was doing everything the other kindergarten kids were doing and then some. She’s even reading at near a first grade level. So, yes, I knew she’d do great.

    I told myself I wasn’t going to cry when I walked her in. I knew I wouldn’t be the only one if I did, but the thought of crying in public, no matter how sentimental the reason, was just too embarassing. And since I knew no one there, I didn’t want to start the year off as “that mom who bawled”. lol I walked her in, gave her kiss good-bye, and sent her on her way. She did great. Then she realized I was really leaving, and it hit her. She came running back to me and became all clingy. I can’t remember kindergarten myself, but I can imagine the mix of emotions my daughter was dealing with, because I was dealing with the same ones on the mommy level. I told her I would walk with her to her class (they’d met initially in the gym so the classes could all walk in together incase some of the littler ones didn’t know where to go), and so together we walked- her shuffling her feet, and me feeling a huge knot in my stomach.

    Outside her classroom the teacher told all the kids to find the locker with their name on it, and at this my daughter immediately perked up and off she went. It was if the initial totally excited little girl took back over, and she couldn’t move away from me fast enough. After she located her locker and put her backpack inside, the teacher told all the kids to go find their seat in their classroom. It was here that I had to say my ‘good-bye’ again. Amazingly, at this point I had still not shed a single tear since stepping on school grounds. Nearly forgetting to even stop on her way in to the classroom, my daughter made a quick beeline for me. Grabbing a quick hug and tossing an “I love you, mommy!” over her shoulder she was gone. That’s when I noticed another class mom begin tearing up as her little one headed off, and that’s when my own personal waterworks began. I’d held it together up until that moment, but seeing the other woman’s release was just too much for me and simply couldn’t help but cry. It was official, my first baby was a big kindergarten girl.


    P.S. Okay, I just have to say that I’m again bawling like a baby just recalling this. Oi, mommy emotions! LOL

  6. Rebekah – Thanks for sharing your story :-). Sometimes the transitions are tougher for us as parents than they are for the kids, I think.

  7. What a fantastic story, Florinda! I love it and what a coincidence! I was trying to think of a first but am drawing a blank.

    Hmm. The first time drove a car, I hit the curb on a right turn and got a flat tire.

  8. Literary Feline – Not a great start to your driving career there, Wendy :-).

    I love the twist it gives our “we met online” story – “but we almost met in Target!”