Madison has been pretty cautious when it comes to walking. She took her first steps around 13 months old. About a week or two after this, we moved from Utah to Washington, took a few family trips, and finally settled into our new home. Within the span of a couple of weeks, she had slept in about 7 different locations. Poor baby.
When we settled into our new place, she refused to practice walking. We prompted and cajoled, but were always met with a sweetly defiant “no!” as she sat down like she meant it.
She liked to walk as long as she was holding on to one of our hands, but she wouldn’t consider doing it by herself until a couple of weeks ago. She hesitantly and cautiously started taking some steps on her own again.
Tonight, we were getting ready to go on a walk outside. Kyle was getting the stroller out of the car and so Madi and I were walking to the corner by ourselves. She was walking along happily in a little unsteady toddle and then she fell. I was a little worried about her knees on the concrete, so I helped her stand up with my hand. I held on to her hand as she started going again and then—she let go.
I couldn’t believe it. Madison always clings to my hand if I offer it and often asks for it when I don’t.
I watched her happily walking along all by herself and a piece of my heart sank and soared simultaneously. I was so proud of her. She was doing it all by herself! I was also feeling the reality that she wasn’t always going to need me as much as she does now. That little hand drop felt so deliberate. Everybody tells you that everything with children is just a phase, which you often use in motherhood to reassure yourself that you won’t always be waking up multiple times a night, or changing explosive diapers. However, it also means that my sweet baby won’t always have dimpled hands, she won’t always insist that bears are “doggies,” and in a million different ways she will assert her independence and let go.
I recommit myself to taking in the small moments. To treasuring the details. It is a huge milestone that Madi is walking now, but it means even more to me that she has confidence enough in herself to let go.