A senior in high school has already had twelve official First Day celebrations.
Granted, First Day celebrations are more boisterously celebrated in the early years with more fanfare. There are longer discussions to prepare the mere babies, wild eyed with excitement as they toddle and lurch off to take possession of their spot at the story time circle.
The first of the thirteen First Day milestones may start with nearly uncontainable wiggly excitement, a tinge of fear, topped with a dollop of kindergarten sized bravado.
"I hope I don't cry", the prevelant thought of many anxious little ones followed closely by "I hope I don't throw up".
As they bravely march through brightly colored metal doors, eager with anticipation, they leave mothers and fathers in their wake left to stare helplessly at closed doors pretending not to be filled with emotion.
That feeling? It's the bittersweet feeling of time marching on. It's the very feeling blamed for the phenomenon of moms and dads standing on a deserted playground, staring at brightly colored closed metal doors while tears shine brightly in their eyes.
The middle First Day milestones pass sweetly - the excitement of posted class lists, school supplies to purchase, and clothes to shop for.
By around First Day six, seven, eight, and maybe nine - the excitement is significantly less. The sullen early teen First Day arrivals sometimes find eyeball rolling partipants who shudder at the very existence of parents - when the term "mom" is often spat out like a bad word.
As the teen years storm in and slam the door behind them announcing their arrival in a perplexing often annoying storm, concerns turn to popularity, the opposite sex, and the unfairness of teachers who (according to sullen unlikeable children) dislike them for no good reason.
At this stage, First Day celebrations come with a sense of relief. The drama filled people are off to star in school related dramas for most of the day thereby providing a few hours of parental relief.
School provides a place for tweens and teens to spread thier social wings. It is also the most likely explanation for how these ungrateful creatures are lucky enough to escape being euthanized.
The tenth, eleventh, and twelveth First Day celebrations arrive sometimes finding that the lucky-to-be-alive creatures are becoming more mature. While it may seem like maturity is setting in at glacial speed as the participants slowly return to "human bean" status.
The earth's gravitational pull no longer centers around them. They may become civic minded and some are fun to be around again.
Their points of view and perceptions are still very immature and stilted, but they are open to considering the notion that their parents are not imbecile creatures whom they would have wanted to have euthanized if only they'd known that euthanasia didn't start with the word "youth" while engaging in unfruitful attempts at google searches.
The thirteenth First Day is a quiet special celebration for parents of seniors in high school. Parents celebrate one last time. You survived twelve First Day celebrations in spite of wondering at times which one of the two of you was not going to make it through. Suddenly the twelve prior First Days fly by in a blur and if you're not careful, you'll miss it.
The last First Day ever.
It can be a dreaded, oft thought about milestone or it can take your breath away with its sudden arrival as your child - nearly an adult - climbs out of the car, walks out the front door to the bus stop or drives off in their own car and parents catch the backside view of their offspring that **one last time** on their thirteenth First Day.
Remember to watch your speed near schools, remember to pick them up on time, remember to feed them healthy food, and remember that today some parents are missing out on their First Day. Parents whose children have passed away, parents in another country defending our freedom and parents who have children who are too sick to attend school would not take the opportunity for granted.
Enjoy your First Day for all that it is worth.