Last Monday night, while I was at a staff meeting and Tima was home with her Auntie Sara, she took her first successive steps. Two to be exact. In the video, it looks like she’s been doing it for weeks, like it was no big deal. Meanwhile in my head, thoughts explode:
Oh my God, she walked!
I don’t have the house baby-proofed yet (I know I was supposed to do that when she started crawling).
How many times will she fall and hurt herself?
Will she finally start leaving her shoes on?
It’s too early — an article I read said babies need to crawl for six months — it helps develop all kinds of skills that are critical to later school success.
But the next day, I watched Tima’s ten second, two-step video over and over and over, and all I thought was: how is SHE possible? How did she come from me and is not like me? Me who is so careful with my body, who so feared the broken bones, road rash, and other wounds my brothers experienced as rambunctious boys that I tempered my adventurousness with caution. Me who stares so intently at knife and fingers when preparing dinner, making sure the right things are being sliced. Me who could walk by my mother on the street and not notice her since I’m usually scanning the ground for trip hazards. Me who followed my marathon training plan almost to the letter for fear that if I didn’t I’d injure myself or it would be a brutal physical experience.
Watching her walk is humbling — she’s so confident, so sure she can do this walking thing, she’s just so entirely her own being. Perhaps it’s just that she hasn’t had enough experience with pain to be scared or cautious, but I feel like at ten and a half months, I can see what kind of a kid she’s likely to be — physical, bright, assured. And I want her to stay that way. I don’t want to give her my own fears about hurting myself. I want her to be bold and climb trees and run far and play sports if she wants. I’ll need to figure out how to model being cautious AND confident in her physicality.
Most of all, I’d like to stop the thought diarrhea that takes me away from these golden baby moments — I just want to be present and celebrate her growth, her dedication to learning to work her body.
So congrats, baby girl, you’re my little heroine.