Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Turning points

At the 4Real boards Cay flagged up this turning point post at Crazy Acres. The author talks about her feelings as her "baby" turns four, and the end of those baby days. I can relate! We are not finished with the "little things" yet: Little Cherub is still in a cot (crib), and nowhere close to climbing out; she is still nursing; we still have diapers and pushchairs and strapping into car seats and all those other things that merge babyhood into toddlerhood. But I have been thinking over the last couple of days how two seems a turning point here.

Two just isn't a baby any more. At two she is confidently mobile and her verbal skills are improving daily. She has her own opinions and is able to express them ("Mummy! No talk Daddy!" I got yesterday, when she decided I was paying too much attention to Tevye and not enough to her.) She wants to do things herself. She knows what she doesn't want to do. The baby has turned into a little girl.

Almost certainly she is my last baby, and those baby days are over for good. I have been there before - I have experienced my youngest being two, and four, and seven. I have mourned the loss of the baby days ... and then they came again. This time round the sense of loss is outweighed by the gratitude for my good fortune in getting to enjoy all these stages of childhood over again. The turning point is still bittersweet, but it is also a milestone. It marks a point on our journey, and while it is good to look back and remember with delight where we have been, it is more important to enjoy the view where we are and to look ahead.

This year the view looks quite different to last year. We have a toddler for whom life is a whole new adventure, a new teenager growing into a young lady, and a daughter about to hit double figures and the dramatic pre-teen changes that turn a child into an adolescent. But you know, it is a good view. Where we are is a good place. I can see a number of other milestones ahead. Some which once seemed a very long way ahead are coming into sight ... the teen years, children growing up and leaving home, retirement for Tevye. The challenge now is to meet those milestones with joy, to savour the turning points rather than to regret the loss of what went before.

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