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Lois Alter Mark Headshot

A Mom's Book of Firsts

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I was really touched when my husband gave me this designed-just-for-me Mother's Day gift and, while I'm not hawking the necklace (which is made by Three Jane and is gorgeous, by the way), I am hawking what it represents. Big time.

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You see, that little diamond on the map of Manhattan marks the apartment in which I became a mother. Okay, not literally -- that happened in a hospital -- but it's where I learned I was pregnant with my first baby and where we first lived as a family.

After the positive sign came up, I sat cross-legged on our living room floor, happy tears falling into the big grin on my face, feeling grateful, and imagining what motherhood would look like.

Like that's even remotely possible.

Reminiscing about that time made me realize that we gush over our children's firsts -- their first smile, their first word, their first step -- commemorating them for posterity in baby books that are passed down for generations.

But what about ours?

Our firsts as mothers are just as meaningful. They're the moments that served as our initiation into motherhood, and acknowledged that we were now part of the club.

So, in honor of Mother's Day, let's celebrate some of our own mom milestones.

Here are my personal top 12:

1. The first time I got peed on.
My firstborn was a boy. Enough said.

2. The first time I truly realized I was a mother.
I was awakened from a nap by a crying newborn who, I was happily startled to remember, was mine.

3. The first time I got bitten.
My baby's teeth came in early and my breastfeeding days were over.

4. The first time I took a child to the emergency room.
My son put a rock in his ear and informed the doctor a bird did it.

5. The first time I heard my daughter cry.
Five weeks premature, she wailed her way out of me, and the back-up team of doctors laughingly left before she was born, knowing her lungs were perfectly fine.

6. The first time I had to beg for a different Happy Meal Teenie Beanie.
There is nothing more humbling.

7. The first time I broke up a public fight between my children.
My son was about to stab my daughter in the head with a pencil. Not saying she didn't deserve it but I didn't want this to be the second time I took a child to the emergency room.

8. The first time I cursed in front of my kids.
A guy cut me off while I was driving, I responded with a heartfelt, "Dickhead," then noticed, in the rearview mirror, the giant eyes of my awestruck little ones in the back seat.

9. The first time I watched my daughter onstage.
Yes, that was me in the front row, kvelling. For 12 performances.

10. The first time I soothed a broken teenage heart.
I made a voodoo doll of the person responsible for causing it.

11. The first time I left each child at college.
I sobbed like the baby I still imagined each of them to be.

12. The first time I stopped worrying about my children.
Will have to get back to you on that one.