From the moment we hold our babies and look into their sweet freshly opened eyes, we begin the journey in discovering the joy of “firsts”…
First cry. First poop. First outfit. First bath. First smile. First giggle.
First time rolling over, pulling up, crawling, walking, running…
First time latching on, taking a bottle, starting foods, self-feeding…
First word. First kiss blown. First full sentence. First tooth lost. First time on the potty.
So many firsts…
And as our babies grow, the firsts start crashing faster in waves almost out of control, as our babies seem to launch into growth at rapid speed. It seems there are too many moments to keep track of, so we lose the camera shot to capture them all.
But somewhere along the way, those firsts become liberating. Our children begin to be more independent as they get older, and I am discovering this sweet spot of parenting right now.
Their firsts become my firsts…
The first time I didn’t have to wipe a butt.
The first time I didn’t have to bathe another body.
The first time I didn’t have to watch their every move.
The first time I slept in, knowing they would be okay.
The first time they could get to bed on their own, if I was unable to be there.
The first time I didn’t have to worry about entertaining them.
The first time I could trust their judgment.
The first time I could leave my kids home alone.
The first time I could send them off to camp on their own.
The first time I didn’t have to do all the housework chores.
The first time I could drop my kids off at the pool, and feel at peace about leaving them there.
Oh, what joy!
Now, I’m still teetering on the edge of some of those firsts… not yet trusting in them completely, as I struggle with letting go of expectations, and I am challenged by those inevitable risks I cannot control.
But as we recently left for a trip to visit my sister, I was reminded of the sweet release of this new parenting transition. I told my daughter she needed to pack for the trip, and I had no need to check her bag before we left. I was confident that she prepared for the four days ahead, despite me asking at the last minute if she packed her toothbrush.
There’s an innate maternal sense that guides this ever-changing season of motherhood. The holding on and letting go that pulls us back and pushes us forward. It’s quite profound really. It’s about having confidence in our kids, while seeing the fruits of our labor bloom in them. It’s about witnessing the seeds we planted take root and rise. It’s about freeing ourselves of some parenting responsibilities, yet forging on to new heights of worry. It’s about celebrating those stages and ages that run tirelessly toward the finish line and realizing the finish line is coming at you fast.
Along the parenting path, there are these slow winding turns that bring us all our firsts. It’s a wild ride for sure. I know there will be many more firsts to come, and perhaps some I won’t want to face. But this is motherhood. It’s pretty exciting each time our kids show a sign of independence and our roles adapt through the years. It’s a power-packed emotional ride to witness our children grow more and more independent. I’m strapping myself in, because there are some big turns ahead.
I’m sure of that.