Some toddler milestones tug at their parents’ heartstrings.
Last night, I carried my son to bed for what might have been the last time. I inhaled the scent of his baby shampoo and he snuggled into my shoulder. I kissed him on the top of his head and placed him in his crib for the night.
And I didn’t savor it the way I should have, because I didn’t know it might be the last time I got to do this little ritual. You see, tonight, when I reached down to pick him up, he told me he wanted to “walk to bed all by myself.”
This got me thinking of all the little lasts that pass us by when we are least expecting them, these toddler milestones that we don’t know are happening in the moment. As parents we are emotional, yet prepared, for life’s big events. We are paparazzi trying to catch an image of the first steps. The snap of the camera records every time your child blows out the candles on his birthday cake. Video cameras are rolling the first time your son rides a bike, the day he first pulls out of the driveway in the family car. We get emotional on the first day of school each year, knowing it’s part of an inevitable slow march toward graduation.
But all the little lasts can catch us unaware.
There are lots of lasts my husband and I celebrated. I was overjoyed the last time I had to prepare and clean a bottle. I’m pretty sure I will feel the same way when I change my final diaper. But there are other small steps to independence I have mixed emotions toward. How will I feel when my kids can dress themselves or give themselves a bath? If you asked, my answer would probably change from day to day, but deep down I know a part of me will miss it all.
Toddler milestones are about more than the ones we read about in parenting books.
Then there are the things I know I will miss desperately. Someday my twins won’t want to hold my hand, or give me a hug in front of their friends. They won’t beg me to do puzzles with them or snuggle on the couch and watch the same episode of Daniel Tiger for the fifty-seventh time. Someday there won’t be kisses, lullabies, and bedtime stories
That’s not to say I want to raise codependent children who can’t (or won’t) do things for themselves. But I am going to try to soak in these mundane, everyday tasks a little more. Because you never know when it might be the last time.
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Tags: babies growing up