Being there when your child takes their first steps is nothing short of amazing. Watching their face as they debate whether or not to move forward on their own. Watching their expression change from, “I think I can” to “OMG, I just did it!” The entire process is maybe 3 seconds, but in the moment, it feels like 5 minutes waiting and watching it all happen.
There was a time when I began to wonder if Hannah was ever going to walk. She was closing in on 15 months old and was perfectly content to cruise around holding on to furniture, or dropping down into a crawl if absolutely necessary. Lance and I both were pretty fond of carrying her around a lot, so we probably contributed to her not walking as early as she could have. But, given the choice of carrying a baby or looking at a baby, I’m going to carry them. They grow out of baby status so quickly, that I hold my girls more than is probably ‘normal.’
With Hannah though, it was Lance who got to watch her thought process as she took her first steps. We had just arrived at our resort in the Dominican Republic and I was checking us in. I needed both hands, so I set Hannah down next to me, thinking she’d just stand there and wait. Apparently, she had just been waiting for us to take her on vacation. Because when I turned back to take care of business, Lance watched her weigh the pros and cons of walking vs. crawling. He called out to me after she’d taken a couple steps, so what I saw were technically her 4th and 5th steps, but still pretty monumental. She was so proud of herself, that she’d take a couple steps, pause and clap, take a couple more steps, pause and clap. It was adorable.
These last few days, I’d been watching Eliza more closely than usual because I was sure she would start walking. She’s been cruising around furniture for months now and recently started standing up and dancing in place. I figured walking couldn’t be that far off. Eliza didn’t get to go to the tropics for her first steps, but she did get to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. That’s all it took. Enough change of environment to give her that extra desire to get moving. We were all sitting on the dining room floor playing with the girls, when I saw Eliza stand herself up. Something told me to keep watching her to see what she’d do. Sure enough, I saw in her face she was ready to try. I watched her think about it, and then oh so carefully, pick up a foot and move it forward. The smile she got on her face was full of pride. I didn’t move or speak, for fear of startling her and bringing this milestone to an end. All I could do was watch her with my mouth open and a huge smile on my face. I did reach an arm out to the side, hoping to catch someone’s attention. Eventually, I heard Lance call out, “Look, Eliza is walking!” The cheers and claps brought her crashing to the floor in a pile of smiles and hugs and congratulations.
Those first steps, they are amazing. They open up a whole new world.
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