“You’ll be a shining star!”
“Be sure to join a study group.”
“Whatever you do, don’t fall behind on your reading.”
She held her breath, smiled from ear to ear, and declared she wasn’t going to cry as the well wishes and wisdom tumbled down the chat in her final all team Zoom. Lindsay V. is heading to law school.
We are losing our legal assistant to her next chapter. She was just 12 years old when the fire to be a justice seeker was lit in her. Those with fear-filled hate sought to pass a local ordinance barring immigrant families like hers from renting a home if they lacked sufficient documentation of their status. The flame never died and her LSAT score confirmed it was her time to go.
Ten year “firmiversary” acknowledgments are not unusual at our firm, though some never made it past the first 90 days. Workplaces are where people come for a season and last days are inevitable.
Other lasts and firsts are unfolding this week. This is the last day of my lovely neighbor Anna being what my generation called “sweet 16”. She is about to say farewell to a year of teen COVID life and in a blink will have the first day of her senior year that will take her to her last day of high school. (A birthday shout- out today to her mama and my editor who celebrates an initial day of a new year, too.)
I’ve seen enough comings and goings of first days and lasts that one would think they wouldn’t hit the heart so hard. Each human is simply on their path forward and I would be a greedy fool to think I could keep those who made me laugh and those who made me love them stay with me forever.
Call me greedy. Call me a fool. Last days are hard days. Despite knowing that adventure and amazement awaits the departing, my imagination clings on to the thoughts of what it might have been like to never have to say good-bye.
In just a few weeks, Lindsay will have her first day. Finding her seat in the giant classroom, meeting professors, lugging heavy books. (They do still have paper books, right?) She’s going to do great and be great. Someday she will have her first day of being a lawyer.
Until then, I’ll keep reminding myself that without last days there can never be first days.
Happy Birthday, Anna. Happy Birthday Angela. Happy Days Lindsay.
What “last days” have you been experiencing?
Do you have some “first days” you’re looking forward to?
What story helps you to remember that a first day will always follow a last?