There are a lot of big milestones happening around here lately. Noah, at 10, has now stayed home alone while I ran to pick us up our favorite milkshakes from downtown. It was a whole seven minutes and 28 seconds, not that I was counting (deep sigh of relief). Max is actually opting to sleep in his "big boy bed" (as in, the futon mattress on the floor of our room) instead of hurling himself headlong into our bed when he wakes in the middle of the night. Lizzie's vocabulary is steadily increasing and she's slowly moving toward more food, less milk in her daily diet.
But there are the small milestones too, the ones that slip by unnoticed if we aren't paying attention. I found myself privy to one of these moments last night, as the kids and I headed out back for a pre-bedtime walk in the woods.
When we hit the tall grasses of the field, Lizzie normally squawks and throws her arms up in that "Mama-carry-me-right-now!" kind of way. Which I do. The entire time we are out walking. Occasionally, she'll let me set her down, so long as I hold her hand. Tightly.
As the dusk light gathered around us yesterday, however, something happened: she. let. go. I don't know if the whoops and yells of her brothers, far ahead and in a full-on stick sword battle caught her attention.
Or maybe it was our dogs, circling like she was a lamb that needed herding that distracted her.
Or it might have just been this:
Whatever it was that made it happen, My little girl let go of my hand.
She began to walk away from me-- tentatively at first-- as she reached over and touched everything in sight.
She came back once or twice to steal a hug before venturing off again, a little further...
As for me, I just hung back, watching her go. I took a few breaths, knowing I was seeing her gain a little independence, a little desire to explore the world around her all on her own. High in an old oak, a mourning dove cooed. Its song seemed full of peace and promise, as it carried my girl forward.
*I disappeared for a week (something to do with a dead computer...sigh) but I'm back, and do plan to post here at least twice each week. You can also find me at Cluck and Tweet, where I post crafts and recipes and silly domestic matters every other day (and on my off days, my partner in crime is much funnier than I). I'm also still here at MyNorth, where this month I'm focusing on fun things to do outdoors with the little ones.