My daughter took her first steps last week. They were shaky, quick steps — only three of them — but they definitely were steps. It happened so unexpectedly. One moment, Reese was fiddling with a pile of unfolded, clean laundry I’d just dumped on the couch; the next moment, she’d turned around and was headed for the coffee table, where she’d left a toy. I was shocked, elated, proud and — as silly as this may sound — a little sad that she’s growing up so quickly.
It seems like we just brought Reese home from the hospital yesterday. And now she’s walking. She’ll be 1 year old in less than a month, and this time with her has absolutely flown by. I’ve enjoyed every second of watching my daughter grow, learn and develop. And while I’m a little glum that my amazing first year of parenthood is coming to a close, I’m also looking forward to watching Reese as she takes toddlerhood by storm, works her way through elementary school, contends with adolescence and blossoms into a young woman.
It won’t be an easy journey — life never is — but I get the feeling I’ll derive intense satisfaction from the role I’ll play in helping Reese become the best possible person she can. It will be hard to draw the line between being an involved parent and interfering. Just as I’ve been encouraging my daughter to take those first steps, I’ll be her biggest cheerleader and her No. 1 fan as she matures. However, I’ll try to stop short of intruding in her life and preventing her from making choices for herself and learning important lessons. If my husband and I have done our jobs correctly and raised her well, she’ll know what to do when faced with a challenge or a tough decision.
And just as I’ve picked her up countless times as she worked toward those first steps, I’ll always be there to give her a boost when life seems intent on keeping her down.