Saturday, May 14, 2011

Baby Steps

As a mother, I find it both beautiful and ironic that we are given charge to teach the little lives that we are blessed with, and more often than not, they are the ones who end up teaching us. I thought I would share the story of such an instance I had today.

My son has been walking now for about 3 months. Actually, he is not so much walking as he is running everywhere. While he was learning, I watched him with his dogged determination stumble, fall, mistep, and crash...and get up again and again. His little footsteps were so clumsy and unsure at first. But now that he has "found his feet," he is unstoppable. I love watching him chase his sister around the room, both of them squealing and laughing. It's a lovely sight for a mother to watch her children play happily together. (I'm am soaking it all in now as I'm sure it won't last forever!)

Today, he met another challenge head-on, and happily he succeeded. Today he walked down a stair. I know it sounds like such a small victory, but I was thrilled for him!

There he stood at the top, his little body peering over the step to see the grass that lay beneath. I watched him as he would go to step, decide his balance was unsteady, reassess, correct his stance, try again, decide he still wasn't right, repeat the entire process from the beginning...
As I quietly watched him, I thought maybe I would go over and help him, but decided I would stand back to give him the chance to figure it out on his own. There were three other children in the yard who had already mastered the skill and they would just run up and down the stair, zipping past him, over and over. My son would glance to watch them run by and then he would place his focus back on the stair. A couple of times he would go to step and would look up at me, looking to see if I was watching, probably hoping for encouragement (which I readily gave him.)

After what seemed like a hundred false starts he settled his first foot onto the grass and then followed with his second foot steadily behind. He looked up at me with a silly grin and then he was off to race around with the other kids in the grass. Sweet success!

I decided in that moment that I wanted to be more like my one year old son. I wanted his dogged determination to push through my setbacks and falls. I wanted his patience to make careful decisions and prevent mistakes. I wanted his intense focus to make sure what I was doing was right--even when everyone else is racing right past me. And most of all, I want to be able to pause long enough to smile at my successes and appreciate the new things I accomplish.

And I think I will get there; I'll just have to start with baby steps :)

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