There are times that I can remember as a kid. In fact, I can remember being 3 years old and having my father walk behind me on my first solo bike ride without training wheels. My father was still in his late 20's at the time. I am 10 years older now than he was then, and I can still see him at that age in my head. Obviously, I was too young to remember many of the firsts that my parents went through when I was an infant, but I do remember my first day of school and other significant firsts. Not as well as my parents do, but I do remember quite a bit from my childhood.
However, there is something so surreal that happens to you as a parent to see these moments in that child of yours, when you can still remember being on the other end.
Today, my little girl walked into my arms for the first time and I saw the smile on her face while she did it. I think she got more of a kick out of it than I did! She was so happy and so were we looking at her and cheering her accomplishment when she finally did it.
And just like that, an era had passed...
She will always be a walker from now on, and the short lived days of her not walking are now officially over. Oh, how fast they went. 11 months of waiting for her to walk are now over for the rest of time. I remember when people would ask me if she was crawling, or walking and I would say, "No, I have the laziest kid of all time. She takes after her father"
"It's ok" they would say as if to console me, "She'll start walking soon enough"
But I wasn't worried. In fact, I knew that it was going to happen and I actually really truly appreciated the days where she didn't walk. Because I knew that those days were numbered...
As long as my kid could walk into Kindergarten by herself when she is 4 or 5, I would be ok with her never walking just so that she would always be our baby. But as we all know too well, she grows; just like they all do, and then you blink and the next day, it's gone.
Well, tomorrow comes and my daughter is a walker. I don't feel sad, because I know that there are a million other "firsts" that will arrive and add to the list and slowly age her and me in the process. Slowly, she will force me into being that man I only saw as my father when I was growing up. -Just like he and my mother watched with the same interest as their first born took his first steps.
And the life circle completes itself.
I never saw myself being this person, and to tell you the truth, it's still odd to me. But I will say that although it is tough work to be a parent, it's something that makes you a better person. Sacfricing what used to be in your "old" life, for someone so helpless in your "new" life is something that forces you to be a better person. To date, there has been nobody, not even your spouse that you would do it for. But this changes when you hold your child for the first time. And then watch her walk, and then talk and then become a person that you dearly love.
Yes, I'm sure if you are reading this you have children of your own, and you can relate. You are thinking about your firsts with your kids in mind, and as well you should. Afterall, now that you have kids, we can all agree on one thing:
-That through all of life's battles, they are the one thing that we hold dear. Their life, their future and their impending happiness. Everything else is just stuff that gets in the way in that journey, or things that are there. But the real purpose to one's life is through the eyes of their child...
Now, you will have to excuse me. I have to go watch my little girl slowly break her father's heart and grow up on me, hoping that she will get the same chance to be as proud of her child someday as I am of her today...