Dear Natalie: Week 14

Dear Natalie,

You rolled over this week for the first time, and it was miraculous.

It wasn’t a miracle in the conventional sense (walk on water during bathtime and then we’ll talk), and it’s not as if you’ve mastered something that no baby anywhere has ever done. Heck, even our cats can do it.

It was miraculous because in that moment I got a glimpse of the future.

First you roll over, and then you sit up, and then crawl, and before we know it you’re off like a rocket running and jumping and driving (good lord), and then you’re off to college and your dad and I are left sitting by ourselves ranting about those darn kids always being on our lawn.

I’m getting a little ahead of myself, I know. We only very recently threw away some items in the fridge that have been around longer than you. But all these milestones are coming, eventually.

It’s so exciting to watch you figure out these new things. Your dad and I cheer so loudly, clap our hands and dance around, so delighted are we by what you’re learning.

As exciting as it is, it’s also bittersweet, because it reminds me that these days when you are so small are so fleeting.

Yesterday I sat on the couch and placed you on my chest. We spent many, many hours like that during the first few weeks of your life, and at the time it was very inconvenient to be underneath a slumbering baby and not able to move for two hours at a time.

But yesterday you didn’t fall asleep. You picked your head right up, looked me square in the eye, and tried to turn yourself around so you could see what was going on behind you.

I can’t think of a better metaphor than that. It’s not enough for you anymore to curl up on me and shut everything out, nor should it be. The entire goal of parenting is to raise capable children, and I can only do that by not holding too tightly to you when you’d rather be facing the world.

But I’ve got your back, baby girl. Just turn around and I’ll be right here, always.



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