1) Your first "place" - whether it was an apartment, dorm room, or home with a new spouse, the first place where you really felt like a grown-up.
Wow. This has opened a floodgate of memories! My first place is the house I rented after college. It was a cute little bungalow that I shared with two friends from college the first year. The landlord let me paint the bedrooms and bathrooms, and I wallpapered the kitchen. I planted flowers, had friends over for dinner, and as I look through some pictures I had a ton of fabulous posters decorating the walls (clearly, I had not left behind some of my college ways).
2) Your first time away from home. Construe this any way you want. College? Girl Scout Camp? Study Abroad?
My brothers and I each had visits on our own with our grandparents in New York from as early as I can remember (and photographs document those occasions from before I can remember!). This meant that being away from home was not an occasion of trauma, but just part of our lives. I suppose that's why no "first time away from home" stands out for me. BUT! I do have a fun story for what probably was the first time, when I was just a wee lass of two... A year before, my parents, older brother and I drove from Connecticut to San Diego where my father was doing a one-year internship. Apparently I didn't travel well. Mom had strategically packed toys in two boxes--one for morning distraction and another for the afternoon. By 9 AM I had gone through both boxes, and was in search of entertainment for the rest of each day. I was a cranky kid, having come home from the hospital at birth with a staph infection that was still being treated, so I can just imagine my family's frustration. By the time we reached San Diego my mother declared that she would spend the rest of her life in California before she drove back across the country with me. When the internship year ended, Providence provided a family friend who was flying to New York and he agreed to take me with him. My grandparents were at the other end to take me off his hands. Ta Dah! Crisis averted!
3) Your first job in your field of endeavor (so, not babysitting, unless you are A Professional Babysitter today):
There was some drama around passing my ordination exams. That translated as postponement not only of being ordained, but of being eligible for jobs after seminary. It was the year from hell in so many ways, but two people who believed in me made a huge difference in how things played out. One of those people was the dean of our diocesan cathedral. I had known him for several years, and one day while having lunch with him to do some networking he essentially offered me a job. He told me that he had every confidence that I would pass my exams and be ordained, but the job didn't depend on that. It was a part time position as pastoral assistant. The cathedral was a place of great significance in my spiritual and ordination journey, so this offer was better than manna from heaven. I took the job. The picture here is the day after my ordination as deacon (during Advent). The dean is on the left, and the other priest on staff is on the right.
4) Your first time hosting. Again, construed broadly, this could be a dinner for the in-laws, your first time to have guests for a holiday meal, etc.
I used to entertain a lot. I love to mark occasions, big and small, and hospitality has been a big piece of my self-understanding for a long time. I don't recall my first time hosting, but I do remember what I consider to have been a wildly successful party at my first home (see above!). It was Twelfth Night party (to mark the end of the season of Christmas, not the play), and guests were mostly friends from college since I was still in my college town. I remember making calzones for the occasion, and setting up a card table with a jigsaw puzzle on it where people could mingle over the puzzle (we did this at our son's rehearsal dinner a few years ago, and it was huge hit! It's a great way to put introverts at ease and people get acquainted without the usual agony of small talk). I don't remember much else, but I remember a house full of people, lots of chatter, and going to bed happy. I have wanted to host an annual Twelfth Night event throughout adulthood, and although there have been a few here and there, various circumstances have kept that from happening. Maybe again, eventually.
5) Your first love.That can be a person or something else!!
Dogs. And Scotland. Two different kinds of love, but both of them run deep in my soul. Dogs were first. Growing up we spent a lot of time with another family, and consequently enjoyed spending time at their cousins' farm in western Massachusetts. I honestly don't remember what they farmed, but in addition to a barn with horses and some other critters, they had a kennel from which they bred Shelties. When it came time for me to get my own dog, a pup from The Farm became mine. I was 11, and I named her Bonnie. Two years later we bred Bonnie, who had a litter of four pups. We lost one at five weeks, suffering from a congenital hole in her heart. It is the first time in my life I remember praying, sobbing while huddled on the sofa in the rec room. And then a few weeks before Christmas Bonnie was hit by a car and killed. We kept one of the pups, named Tammy after a friend who called while Bonnie was in labor to predict a fourth young'un. I've had dogs ever since. Their names have gotten more interesting: Avalon, Rory, Brenna, Dooley, Juliet, Rigel and McKinlee. The last three currently share our home. It is my love of and for dogs that have led me down a new path in life to animal massage.
Bonnie on vacation at Cape Cod