Everett took his first steps this weekend. He'd been standing on his own and balancing for a few weeks, so we knew it was coming (unless, of course, he was going to grow up to be one of those weird lurkers).
Chuck and I were sitting on the living room rug. Everett was standing against Chuck. I held out my arms to Everett and said, "Come here! You can do it!" and he did.
There are a few things that are remarkable about this milestone. One is, of course, the act itself. He's walking. This changes everything. Another is that Chuck and I were both home to see it. That was thrilling. It was one of those Hallmark-y, picture-perfect moments you get as a parent from time to time.
(As opposed to being called over to marvel at the contents of the toilet bowl.)
What stands out most to me about Everett's first steps is this, though: With your second child (at least for me), all the anxiety of those "firsts" is gone. It doesn't matter what month/week/time of day it is when the milestone is reached. He/she got there in his/her own time.
There is no competitive awkwardness with my mother over who sees what first.
There is also no self-inflicted anxiety, guilt, or anguish about worrying I might miss a "first." Along that same line, there isn't the cause and effect relationship between that anxiety and the ensuing anxiety that I a) suck as a parent or b) have missed a crucial developmental milestone in my child's life and that our bond will somehow suffer as a result.
Fucking mom guilt.
Nope, I know better now. I know that if I miss a "first" there will be a second, a third, and even a fourth. And if I miss those too, I am there every night for bedtime stories, and holding hands at the doctor's, and bike rides to the park, and pancakes made into the shape of a dinosaur (type thing).
I am there. I know it, and they know it.
That means they can take all the first steps they want. I will be there when they walk away. And I will be there when they come back.
Just please stop asking me to look in the toilet bowl. Please?