As parents we’re always on the lookout for new milestones… the first time our child rolls over, the first smile, laugh, the first steps they take on shaky legs. Lately our house has been full of milestones. This past Saturday LMJ turned one. One year has passed since Red let me sleep and decided to labor in the bathroom right up until LMJ came knocking with a few moments to spare. Thankfully we live blocks from the hospital, otherwise she would’ve been born in the car on the way. Our first child took her time showing up. She wasn’t quite ready and kept Red in labor for what seemed like an eternity. Not LMJ, she arrived 18 minutes after we walked through the doors of the hospital with a round face that looked like mine and a tough demeanor that has served her well so far.
Milestones bring reflection, LMJ’s birthday made us think back on a long winding year that started in that hospital room. Three months. Three months after she was born, she got sick, and we reeled under the weight of doctors, tests, blood work and scary words I never wanted to look up on google in the first place. Three months. Three months is how long it’s been since LMJ has needed neupogen, the life saving drug that told her bones to keep making neutrophils. Three months since we’ve had to put needles in our child on a regular basis. Three glorious months.
Three weeks. It’s been three weeks since LMJ started walking around like it ain’t no thang. She strolls around the house like she owns the place… determined to access any nook and cranny she’s not supposed to explore. Those first tentative steps remind you just how fragile and helpless children are, while at the same time signaling both a beginning, and an ending. She’s not a baby any more. Babies don’t walk. Babies don’t saunter into a room and hand you a book to read them.
Three years. Three years is how old Little Miss is. Three years going on 20. Little Miss will be 4 in February, and she’s counting the minutes to her next birthday with eager anticipation. Much her like mom, LM is a natural communicator. She was signing at 8 months, and talking shortly thereafter. She talks day and night, and the questions never, ever stop. She’s eager to understand everything you say, and everything she hears. She’s growing up faster than I want (apparently you can’t keep them as children forever), yet I marvel at her cognition and retention. This weekend we took LM on a hike and discovered she’s a rock climber… delightfully scrambling up large challenging rock faces with Mom in tow while I watched and winced. Our clumsy little day dreamer who makes the princesses talk and asks endless reams of questions is a rock climber. Red is thrilled.
Ten years. Ten years ago Red married me in a little church by the shore in Cape May, NJ. Surrounded by family and friends she agreed to make a life with me and ten years later here we are doing it. I remember meeting her back when she was still in college, with her beautiful shock of red hair and firecracker attitude that captured my attention. I remember a life changing moment when she leaned against me at a party after having recently met and she jokingly threw out that we should get married in 5 years, to which I agreed… and then we did. Ten years.
I don’t always make good decisions (see our lifetime supply of dish detergent). There are no guarantees in life. But when I walk down the stairs from my home office at the end of the day, and my two little girls come bounding into my arms with squawks of ‘dada!’ and “are you done working?” … I know I’ve done some things right.