Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mile Markers on the Family Life Road Map

Maps have always fascinated me. As a kid I loved to trace our progress on a map when we traveled across Arkansas to visit my grandparents. I would watch the mile markers and interstate exit signs and figure out where we were on the map.

Eventually I became so familiar with the roads and signs I didn't need a map. I knew how much longer until the gas station with the "good" restroom. I could tell my little brother when the "Cow Rock" was coming up. And I knew which turn would take us to my maternal grandparent's house and which would take us to my paternal grandparent's house.

I realized the other day that, just like roads, families have maps and mile markers. Only family mile markers are called "milestones" and maps are called "child development books".

When William was born I read several of those child development books. I highlighted. I underlined. I dog-eared the corners. As a first-time mom I needed all the help I could get on this new leg of my journey! Those books told me what to expect for each milestone and approximately when to expect them. Kind of like a map.

It's funny how with each child I've referred to those books less and less. Just like the trips to my grandparents house, I've become familiar with the milestones and what lies ahead.

I've been down Sleep, Eat, Wake Lane before. I adore the view from Sleeping Through the Night Avenue! And the Beware of Teething signs no longer scare me.

This past week my family reached not one but TWO milestones. William experienced his first loose tooth and and visit from the Tooth Fairy. At the same time, Samuel's first tooth erupted through his gums.

Both of these events have been exciting for my family. But I confess they leave me feeling a little bittersweet.

How is it that my baby, the one I poured over the child development books to learn what to do about his first tooth, lost that same first tooth? Didn't it just come in yesterday?!

This new milestone clearly shows that we have made another turn on the family life map. We are entering a new phase. One with big kids who don't have baby teeth.

It feels like these (nearly) six years with William have flown by and that makes me hold Sam a little tighter. Because I know when I blink my eyes he will be a cheeky five-year-old wiggling that precious first baby tooth and wondering if it will hurt when it comes out.

When that time comes I'll be prepared for it. I will have walked by mile marker Lost First Tooth three times. I can't help wondering if I'll feel the same bittersweet emotions then as I do now.

Sigh... if you'll excuse me I think I need to go cuddle a baby. And maybe pour over an Arkansas road map for old times sake.

Photo of Arkansas Map by jocelyn postcrossing.

6 comments:

Ann said...

How precious. Beautiful firsts...and seconds...and thirds! :-) Congratulations to both sweet boys! Enjoy your snuggless...

Amy said...

We're snuggling right now! Really enjoyed reading this post...

Rachel said...

Congratulations. We hit that milestone about a month ago. Two more quickly followed that first tooth. He's growing up so fast.

Alicia said...

Oh, I want to cry. You're so right! and expressed it so well!

Carrie said...

Thanks for making me feel sad and lost already! =X

;)

This really was a tremendously beautiful post about cherishing the little moments with the little people. I should probably go do that right now . . .

wherever HE leads we'll go said...

What a sweet post! Guess all those little old ladies were right - we should enjoy the little ones while we can because they grow up so fast! : )

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...