Today is Alex’s and my third anniversary. Three years ago, I had no idea that I would one day be living in a different country, with a beautiful daughter, experiencing a totally different way of life. That is one of the great things of life — nothing is scripted. You get to discover all that is new every moment of every day.
Or at least witness it. Which I did. My child’s first unassisted steps.
Alex has seen these before, in a couple of cases around the apartment. But tonight, as is becoming a habit after dinner, we went for a walk around the "lago" (Spanish for "lake", but it’s little more than a pond) in our complex. Mi Pequeña Niña let go of my forefinger — her favourite thing to hang onto for balance as she walks — and for a few short steps walked unassisted to her mother’s waiting arms.
It wasn’t far. But all first steps are measured in "not falling down", not distance.
She did it again later back in the apartment, walking 4-5 somewhat unsteady steps between Alex and the black sofa bed (currently in sofa mode) in MPN’s room.
It’s the beginning. In order for MPN to move forward in life, she needs to let go of us. There’s a certain amount of sadness in this, as we must start to fade into the background. It will take years — decades, even — for this to truly take effect. But it’s the start. MPN doesn’t even know we’re doing that yet. All she knows is that she can move from our arms to something she wants. And that’s a start.
It’s a great anniversary present, really. It’s "leather" this year, and neither of us are in a rush to go out and purchase animal hides for each other. Seeing our daughter walk? That’s pretty rewarding. We celebrated with wine and 50 First Dates, one of the first movies we’d seen when we were dating. It seems so long ago now.
In the coming weeks, Mi Pequeña Niña will be walking further and further on her own. She’ll hold our hands not for support, but because she wants to. She’ll walk away from us, walk towards/into things she shouldn’t. Then she’ll be running. And falling, too — that’s all part of movement. Part of life.
It’s a good third anniversary. Thank you, my daughter — you made it a great one.