Good job Dad!
Yes, the first row is definitely the hardest. When I teach people to knit I like to start with the knit stitch and I like to have a little piece already started for each learner so they don't have to face that first row until later. After they knit a little then we go back to the cast on and the first row.
Try to cast on loosely. Long tail is a great cast on to know, the most common and useful really, so good place to start. Another thing to try would be to cast on over both of your needles held together, (it is a bit awkward, but might be worth it) then pull one out after the cast on so you can knit with it. That way your cast on row will be looser. This is actually recommended in some patterns, etc.
Hang in there, it gets easier, I wish someone could knit you up a couple of rows for now, but you have to bite the bullet and knit that first row.