This was one of those moments...
About 2-3 times per week William and I visit our town's park. It's conveniently 3 minutes from our house and a great spot to blow a few hours during the day when we're both getting stir crazy. They have a walking trail, toddler playground, "big kid" playground and picnic tables galore. Last week, Nathan had the day off so we went down as a family to enjoy some fun on the playground with William.
Normally, when I take him, William is way too busy observing the other kids in their action so I kind of have to "help" him along on the playground (i.e. "Let's go down the slide!" or "Let's go swing"...as I carry him to these things to distract him from his people-watching).
But this particular day? He was in no mood to be a bystander. For whatever reason, my curious observer wanted in on the action. And he wanted to do it by himself. Nathan and I stood in awe as William climbed the playground stairs up to the slide, sat on his bottom and slid down with a huge grin - all by himself. We swooped him up down at the bottom of the slide, and he immediately pointed to the stairs and did his usual grunt as if to say "I'd like to do that again". And again he did! And again. And again. And again.
For most parents, the infamous First Birthday is that moment of passage from baby to toddlerhood, where they realize their little one is growing up, and fast. But that didn't happen for me. When William turned one he still seemed (and acted) like my little baby - the one who needed my assistance, who wanted me nearby, who still very much resembled babyness. So call me naive, but I guess I just thought he'd stay that way for a while longer. I never realized 15 1/2 months would be his passage. It snuck up on me and almost took my breath away at the bottom of the slide, when I saw him doing big boy things. When he wanted to be independent, and physically could be independent. And it broke my mama heart to pieces.
It's not that I don't want him to grow up or be independent, it's just that I want time to stand still for one little millisecond, but it refuses to. Since that day at the park he's done about 57 other crazy grown up things like taking his diaper off and throwing it in the trash can for me, saying new words, giving random sweet hugs, "helping" Nathan with stuff around the house, pushing his Little Tykes car around the front yard, and gaining just enough courage to take his first major steps (!!).
It seems as if he's decided to charge off all at once into this great big world that he's been so cautious and reserved about for the past 15 1/2 months. And I had gotten very used to his cautiousness. So I guess that's why I'm feeling a little verklempt about it all. I'm excited he's plunging head first and doing new things, pushing his physical limits and learning new skills, but with each passing day I'm reminded how fast he's growing.
It's a crazy thing this motherhood gig. One minute we're wishing our children would catch up with their peers and be "on track" to reach certain milestones, and the next we're wishing they'd just sit down and stay small. :)
Checking the gas ;)
And this one here has been on repeat the past 24 hours around here.
I have never been prouder!