Legend has it that as he drew his final Earthly breath, the American writer Henry David Thoreau whispered calmly.
And then he died.
I’ve often thought that his final words bode well for whatever comes next, you know?I mean, c’mon, a moose and an Indian? I’ll take it.
At least he didn’t bail out with a blood curdling screech and the words, “Dragon!….Werewolf!”…right? That would make me a little uneasy.
People’s final words are often remembered and noted. Maybe they reveal something, maybe they don’t, I don’t know. Still, the fact remains that they intrigue us because they point to the final thought/ending notion of a fellow human’s journey. But, what about those first words out of our mouths?
As important as they are, and as sweet as they sound when they first fall upon our ears, I’m not talking ‘mama’ or dada’ here either.
Instead, I’m wondering what about our first word or words after those ones.
What about the one that first connects us with the world at large? who recalls that first magic utterance slipping out of their kid’s gummy pie-hole? We spend a vast portion of our lives communicating, using this language or that one to express our feelings and to understand things.
We string words together to take us places and to help us to learn and to teach and to fall in love and to say goodbye and to order pizza and to whisper “Welcome!” into the tiny ear holes of our daughters and sons just minutes after they arrive here in this world.
This first word, it’s magic no?
The way I see it, whatever it is that our kids first putter out is this sort of majestic monument to all of their tomorrows. That first time they babble out a thing and it’s a thing we understand, that’s just like an RSVP to the Grandest Bash Of Them All. It’s them looking life right square in the eyes and saying, for the very first time, “Yes, I will have some of that, please!”
A little over a week ago, my one year old son Henry was strapped up on his mommy’s chest while we were all out feeding the ducks in the local park.
We didn’t see it coming.
You never do, really.
“Itzaduck!” he said.
And it was just how I like it. A sneak attack word came and the word popped out of his face and nothing is ever gonna be quite the same again, for any of us.
We’re so proud of it, his mom and me. It’s as fine a first word as we could hope for.