Rolling over. That first smile. Walking. Talking. First solid food.
How about first field trip? First ride on a school bus?
The older my girl gets, the more I see milestones in these smaller, less noticed moments. These lesser known milestones fill my heart with joy. But also leave me with that ‘oh my goodness how is my little girl already riding a school bus’ feeling.
I debated for weeks. Should I chaperone? Be there to witness this day and provide a little comfort in yet another wildly new situation? Or should I stay home? Not change this day for her by being part of it (aka: not give her the out to hang by me all day) and, instead, let her fly on her own and enjoy her time with her friends?
I chose to go. I chose to witness this, to do this with her. Because I wanted to know what field trips are like so I could talk about them with her later. Because I wanted to help her continue to ease into this new school life. Because I want to be the mom who goes on field trips and knows her friends, who everyone knows because she is involved.
And because I can’t resist a pumpkin patch.
So, at 9 months pregnant on a hot, gloomy, buggy October day, I ran around a pumpkin patch, chasing little girls carrying apples, picking pumpkins, and laughing at loud goats.
And it was a beautiful day.
My girl did stick close by a lot of the time. And she held my hand as we walked from one big area to another. Just like we always do.
But she also ran off. She eagerly ran to her friends, calling out to them, asking them to join her in one game and following them to the next. She climbed and swung and lived it up. She said hi to friends passing by, calling them by name with a smile and a wave.
And I hung back and watched. I watched my shy girl blossom. I watched the miraculous effects of just three-and-a-half weeks of school. And I knew, we had made so many right decisions to get here, right to this oh so right place.
Back when we were still struggling with tear-filled drop-offs that plagued my heart all day long, a co-worker had smiled kindly at my near breakdown at work. “I know it’s awful right now,” he offered, “but you are on the brink of something amazing. She has been a reflection of just you for all this time and now she will be a reflection of the world too. And it is a beautiful thing.”
And he was right. The little girl I watched smile and laugh and run at the pumpkin patch still reflected pieces of me, but she also shined brightly with new images.
And it was truly beautiful.