We’ve gone through a series of firsts in recent days.

Sunday M and I knocked out two firsts together.

She recently told us that she would like to try playing tennis. As in for her high school, not just for fun or as part of some open rec league. At first S and I were concerned: M took some lessons five or six years ago, but they were very basic, she did not show any particular aptitude for the sport, and other than wacking balls with her sisters in the driveway, she has never actually played tennis.

Looking back on her experience with cross country, we were also worried about the humiliation factor. Sure, you stand out when you are one of the last runners in a race. But you’re also in a huge field with hundreds of people milling about and not really a focus. Whereas on a tennis court, even if you are playing one of 12 concurrent matches, you are kind of out there on your own. We were also concerned because CHS won the girls state title last spring. They have some serious talent.

She did not seem concerned about any of that so we decided to support her taking chances and trying new things. Although we know she is motivated to play because two of her best friends are playing. Neither of them has played before, but they both play other club sports so may pick it up quicker.

We made M go talk to the coach and explain her background and make sure he was open to her playing. Apparently he was thrilled that she was interested. We asked around and he seems to be one of those coaches who loves it when girls who have never played want to give it a shot. And the more I thought about it, and remembered my reporting days when I would cover tennis matches, I imagine most high schools have a big group of freshmen who have never played. Some of them may be athletic and can grasp the game quickly. But most are going to struggle. In that sense, I’m hoping M fits right in.

Anyway, Sunday was a nice day so I took her across the street to the high school to hit some balls. She surprised me a bit. She obviously struggled, but she was able to mix some good hits in. Serving is going to be a challenge, but again I imagine that will be the case for most of the girls she plays. I had her hit against the wall for awhile, we moved to the junior court to get a feel for hitting over a net, then walked over to the main courts so she could get used to its size.

After we hit balls for about 45 minutes, I gave her the car keys and we drove around the school parking lot for about 15 minutes. S has driven with her several times, but this was my first time with her. M was very nervous and tentative. She overthinks things. Her turns and stops are a little rough/abrupt. But she did just fine. I let her drive the two blocks home and we made it safely.

L had gone with us and was, apparently, very hesitant about riding in a car M was driving. S told me that L threatened not to go when she heard M would be doing some driving practice after we finished with tennis.

Monday we got M’s signup notice for her in-car driving lessons. Remembering my driver’s ed experience, I think she will improve much quicker when it is a non-parent who has been trained on how to teach kids to drive helping her rather than a parent.

It’s all kind of scary. I am eager for her to gain the independence that comes with a driver’s license, especially since it will make my mornings and afternoons much easier. But, man, seeing kids drive crazy in the parking lot every day when I’m dropping her off and picking her up can’t help but make me fear what she’s getting into. The experience has also made me evaluate how I drive. I realize so much of what I do is based on instinct and 30 years of experience. You don’t really look at the car approaching you in the opposite lane, but just sense its presence and trust it will not veer into your path. When M drives you can see her minor panic as she shifts her focus from the approaching car to the curb on the opposite side and fights to keep the car centered between the two.

She is learning how to drive in S’s new car, a Mazda CX–3. S’ previous two cars were both Jeep Cherokees, which she loved. But before her last lease expired we looked at what affordable, small SUVs and crossovers were the safest and the Mazda came up. So she is leasing a new CX–3 with the idea that M will get comfortable driving it and once she gets her license we will buy her a used one.

The final first of the week was me getting my CPAP machine on Monday. I’ve slept with it two nights, which has been a chore. The biggest issue is that I’ve started with the full mask, which covers my nose and mouth and keeps me from sleeping on my stomach as I prefer. So far I’ve also struggled to sleep on my side, too, although this morning I’ve been watching videos with tips on how to do that. I’ve always struggled to sleep on my back at night. I can take a nap during the day face-up. But at night I really struggle to relax and stay asleep in that position.

Night one was tough. It took me a long time to fall asleep and then I woke often because of the strange, new sensation of having a mask on my face. Last night was a little better, although I think I had some of the straps on the mask too tight and the bridge of my nose is quite sore today.

From what I’ve read, it can take several weeks for CPAP to begin having positive effects. I’m hopeful it works for me and soon I won’t be walking around like a zombie in the afternoon.