On Rejoicing in Every Milestone
Isabella turned 15 months yesterday, and almost on cue, has finally begun to walk. For those of you not acquainted with childhood development, 15 months is sort of late for walking.
I’ve been anxiously awaiting this stage- not because I’m worried about Izzy’s development, or because I think she’s lagging behind. I don’t think about that crap. I just really, really, really want her to be able to walk. If you’ve seen me in the last 15 months, chances are, I was holding a small brown-haired blue-eyed girl. For 9+ months, she was literally attached to me. After she was born, it didn’t change much. She’s always been a high-need baby and a very social person, and the best place to interact with her world is from my arms. My selfish thought is that walking will give her the ability to get where she wants to go without my help, and (hopefully) need my attention a little less. Like, instead of wanting me 90% of the time, maybe she’ll drop down to 70%. That would be a huge deal for me. Mostly, I’m just stoked for her to do something new. She’s really excited about it.
Parents I chat with are often surprised to hear that I’m dying for Isabella to walk on her own. When I express this sentiment I’m typically met with some little comment that is intended to sound like helpful advice from someone who has “been there” but is truly just stupid, like “trust me, you’ll change your mind once she starts walking” or “when you have more kids you’ll wish they waited longer!” or the always ominous “just wait…”
I fully reject this “advice” and the entire mindset that goes along with it. It’s this idea that each milestone is something to be sad about because your baby won’t be a baby forever, or whatever. Or the idea that somehow children are supposed to be convenient for us. Mostly, though, I think it’s that a lot of women, in particular, like to feel needed and therefore get their value from being needed by their kids. Each milestone, especially walking, is a step (ha) towards independence. If you get validated by being needed, parenthood is going to be a long and difficult journey.
I’ve enjoyed every milestone in Isabella’s life. I love watching her grow. I get excited about the new things she does. And no, I will not wish she had waited longer to walk because it’s harder to keep a fully mobile baby safe. I will not hope my younger children will wait to walk. I will rejoice in every milestone and every new season of my child’s life. And if you have discouraging little “trust me, just wait…” comment, keep it to yourself.