Abby just took six steps unassisted over the weekend. We were at a dinner party and she received such a voracious round of applause from the hosts of the party that she stopped dead in her tracks and fell down sideways in response.
She's been working toward this for a month now. One step here, another there. Just last week I called my husband all excited because G and I witnessed Abby's first three steps away from the vertical thing holding her up. Before now there has always been a vertical thing holding her up whether it was her walker, me, or the flimsy shower curtain. But last week, right before I was ready for it, there she was in the middle of the room giving her first Frankenstein walk across the tiles without her vertical thing.
For some reason, having our son made me feel young, protective and vulnerable. For some other reason all together, having our daughter is making me feel mortal, powerful, and brave. And not ready. A whole lot of not ready to say goodbye to this tender phase where precious things happen every minute of every day.
Combine it all together and now I am their weathered oak tree: strong (with some missing bark), experienced (only one or two carvings), able and sturdy (police officer standing by). My limbs there to catch, encourage, show, and release. They are that beautiful yellow tree behind me with limbs and leaves that blaze (show off), flutter (try and try again), mimic (say bad words), and grow (and grow and grow).
So crap, not even one year old yet and she's taking her first brave flights out of the nest.
I'm a proud mama bird though and realize this is what nature intends so I will (try to) happily encourage her from the sidelines and not wear her on my hip like a koala bear.
But oh my little koala bear. I still love her baby smell, baby breath, baby giggle, baby socks. The baby is still in there but she is quickly growing and becoming....and becoming. She laughs when I nurse her like it's a secret between girls.
"Isn't this just the coziest thing ever, Mom? I love it when you talk just to me."
She cackles aloud with her parents when she (probably?) doesn't get the joke. She even sings to her doll babies in her crib when nobody comes to rescue her in time. She is comforting something smaller than she is. It breaks my heart that there actually is something smaller than she is. Time is pushing her forward and leaving me behind all at once. Bringing up babies is a constant ocean of tug and pull. We tug them onward with support and love. They pull away like a soft wave reaching for greater and more exciting terrain. It is exactly how it should be.
It's my honor to show them how and my heartache to watch them pull away, unassisted.