That’s how long it took Cara to take her first steps. We have been waiting for this day for a long time, so when it finally arrived, it called for immediate celebration. We dropped everything and went out for gelato. (We thought that her first gelato was an appropriate treat for the little Italian.)
|When choosing gelato, one must take one’s time.|
|The first taste …|
|Big smiles all around.|
Cara’s been on her own timeline from the beginning. (Hello 28 hours and 45 minutes of labor.) She was the most content baby I’ve ever seen. If something was out of reach, she’d just play with whatever was available. When crawling didn’t happen according to the typical “milestone,” my husband wasn’t too worried … he knew she’d get it eventually. She did. At 15 months. Then with lots of encouragement, she started pulling herself up and cruising along the furniture.
I, of course, worried when she didn’t “measure up” to the milestones. (What is it about being a mother that makes your imagination go crazy?) I pictured all sorts of ridiculous scenarios like a five-year-old who was still crawling. I worried that something was wrong with her legs. Why didn’t she want to walk? My ever patient husband reassured me that she was fine, that she’d walk eventually. When he agreed to my request to contact a physical therapist, I think that was mostly for my own peace of mind, not because he thought she needed it.
After a couple meetings with the therapist, I soon realized he was right, of course. She would get it, but she would do it in her own time. So I did my best to relax and let her get to it. And I tried not to worry.
The other night we were all just hanging out in the living room after dinner when suddenly, out of nowhere, she took a few steps. In disbelief, I grabbed my phone to record the moment. After waiting and praying for so long, it was truly a miraculous moment, watching her walk for the first time.
Looking back on it, I realize how pointless my worrying was. In fact, I see now that God’s purpose for having Cara walk later was likely to teach me something … an important lesson that I’d need to learn as a mother. It is this:
I need to allow my daughter to be who she is. I cannot push her to be what I think she’s “supposed” to be. And I cannot compare her to anyone else.
As a female and oldest of four, I’ve always had a tendency to compare myself to other people, and this trait has been the source of lots of unnecessary anxiety in my life. God knew that I could very easily fall into this habit when it comes to raising kids, and in His wisdom, He gave me a very real lesson in learning to let go.
One that took 19 months and 10 days.
I’m sure I won’t get it perfect every time, but I’m grateful that God is helping me to recognize the beautiful gift that He’s given me in Cara and to treasure her unique individuality.
I’m pretty sure being a mom is the greatest experience I’ve ever had.