I remember the first time my child…

Parenting is full of all kinds of big first moments; first steps, first smile, first time your kid says daddy. And then there are the little firsts that don’t seem as big, yet somehow seem to have just as much significance. I had one of those little first moments with The Girl yesterday morning.

Our usual morning routine when I drop her of at playschool is like this. After giving her a goodbye hug and kiss, I leave and walk down the front steps of the preschool. At the bottom I stop and turn around. The pre-school has a big bay window in the front of it overlooking the street and every morning there is my girl, standing in the window, smiling and waving goodbye to me.

I begin to walk down the street until I hear a tap at the window behind me. I turn around and there she is, still smiling and waving. I wave back. I go a few more steps down the street, stop and turn around. She is still standing in the window, watching me walk away. She smiles and waves. I smile and wave back. I go a few more steps, stop, turn and wave. She is still there and returns the wave.  We repeat our turn and wave 3 or 4 times as I walk down the street. Sometimes I turn around and she is making a silly face in the window. Sometimes, I do the same and we share a little giggle. It’s a private moment in a public place – a moment of connection and transition for both my daughter and myself and it continues until I am around the corner and out of sight of the daycare window.

We have done our window dance every daycare & preschool morning  for the past 2 1/2 years. Until yesterday.

Yesterday, after I walked down the steps of the preschool, I turned around to wave. She wasn’t at the window. I paused, waiting for her happy little face to appear in the window.  After a moment, still no girl in the window.  I waited a bit longer. Still no girl. Slowly it dawned on me that maybe she wasn’t coming to the window.

I began to walk slowly away from the preschool, stopping and turning every few steps and hoping I would see her face in the window waving at me. But each time was the same – no smiling girl waving goodbye to her dad. After 3 turns to look back, I finally did catch a glimpse of her through the big preschool bay window. She was laughing and running around with her friends, oblivious that her dad was standing on the street looking in, wishing that she would come to the window to wave goodbye.

She wasn’t coming.

I continued walking down the street, occasionally glancing back just in case she had taken up her usual spot and was waving and smiling at me walking away. But she never appeared, caught up in her own little world of friends and play inside the preschool. And I realized that each time I turned around and she wasn’t there, I felt a little bit sadder.

It seems like such a silly little thing to remember – the first time my girl didn’t come to the window to wave goodbye to me in our morning ritual. But for some reason, this little first moment has stuck with me. All day yesterday it kept replaying over and over in my head, implanting itself into some remote memory brain cells. I don’t know why. But it is a first moment that obviously has hit me at some level to make me want to wake up at 5 am and document it here for some future me to look back on and remember.

Maybe I read too much into this little moment. That somehow this is not some kind of sign that she is growing more independent and doesn’t require the comfort of her dad waving goodbye to her to signal that everything is okay and right in the world. More likely she probably just got caught up in her own little world.

But I am going to use this moment as a good reminder to stop and pay attention to those little everyday things and realize that when it comes to parenting, those little things are often just as important as those big milestones. It’s a realization that in the midst of the chaos that is our lives right now, I am experiencing just as many significant firsts as my kids. They may not be as developmentally big as taking a first step or uttering a first word, but they are big and significant in their own little way, even if the reasons why are not always obvious. And maybe they don’t have to be.

18 Responses to I remember the first time my child…

  1. Clint, this is a really lovely story. The very definition of bittersweet. I taste it everytime I swing my wee lass up into my arms and realize I won't be able to do that much longer.

  2. Thanks Scott. I'm happy to say that this morning when I did the drop,
    she ran to the window and our ritual picked up without missing a beat.

  3. Oh my, Clint – this is a beautiful story. I think it speaks to any parent who wishes the best for his child but also realizes that she's a person of her own. Hope you don't mind my popping in to comment – just spotted the link on Friendfeed :)

  4. Not at all Debbie! Thanks for the comment…pop by anytime :)

  5. Clint, it is a beautiful thing that you are so in tune with the important things in life that you are able to notice and reflect upon moments like this. What a wonderful example for those of us who really need to slow down. Thank you for sharing!

  6. All three of my children began these when they were ten months. At that age I no longer fed them any baby foods… only table foods that the rest of the family ate. They did well.

  7. I think it speaks to any parent who wishes the best for his child but also realizes that she's a person of her own. Hope you don't mind my popping in to comment.Clint, this is a really lovely story. The very definition of bittersweet

  8. A very touching story Clint. I can understand your feelings. I have had the same experience with my daughter.

  9. Ok. I'm sitting here in tears actually. The "I totally know what you mean tears." Like as I stand watching my son ride his 2 wheeler at 4 years old with immense pride all while knowing that him riding away from me is not just a physical freedom and milestone but a bigger symbolic milestone too. Shew (that's the whistle sound I make when something hits me) – great post.
    (and I found this because Jon at Graco nodded you & I'm posting them today- you should see it come throw on your links this afternoon)

  10. Thanks Lindsay (and Jon). The one thing I noticed as my daughter gets
    older is that these moments are so unexpected, which probably adds to
    the power. We all know our kids will walk and talk, so we are
    expecting those types of moments to happen and gush when they do. But
    it's the moments that sneak up and slap you that are really powerful.
    Like this one. Just a normal, routine moment that triggers a little
    thought in your mind – my kid is growing up.

  11. Thanks Debbie. And by all means, pop by anytime! From FriendFeed, Twitter wherever!

  12. I should stop reading your blog while I'm at work away from the kidlet. I'm not going to get anything done today. I can't wait to get home and get some more "firsts"

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  14. Preventing Loan Foreclosure If You Have A VA Loan
    If you think you will be unable to make your payments on time or are already behind, the VA can sometimes help prevent loan foreclosure. Here are some option that you might consider if you are facing loan foreclosure with your lender. These may work even though you may not have a VA loan.
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    Once the VA has received notice they will try to contact you to discuss your situation in detail to see what the best plan of action is. The VA can also assist in discussions with your loan servicer. The VA will need information from you before they can proceed, such as:
    •The reason you are, or will soon be, in default
    •Your current financial/employment situation
    •Whether you or someone else occupies the property
    •Whether or not you wish to keep the property
    The VA can assist delinquent homeowners facing loan foreclosure. However, it can be difficult to connect with the VA and sometimes the loan servicer is not helpful with this either. You will need to be persistent.
    The most common way to Save Home
    is to have a Loan workout. With a loan workout is by a workout plan with the lender where you are allowed a period of time to make up the default amount. In some instances the arrearages can be put on the back of the loan so so additional monthly amount is due. The VA is often helpful in negotiating a workout, but it is helpful if you, the delinquent borrower has a handle on your

  15. Preventing Loan Foreclosure If You Have A VA Loan
    If you think you will be unable to make your payments on time or are already behind, the VA can sometimes help prevent loan foreclosure. Here are some option that you might consider if you are facing loan foreclosure with your lender. These may work even though you may not have a VA loan.
    If you have a VA loan that goes into default the loan servicer is required to contact you to determine what is causing your default and see if arrangements can be made that can correct the situation and cure the default. If the problem is not resolved and you are 3 months delinquent, the loan servicer is required to contact the VA to let them know your loan is in default.
    Once the VA has received notice they will try to contact you to discuss your situation in detail to see what the best plan of action is. The VA can also assist in discussions with your loan servicer. The VA will need information from you before they can proceed, such as:
    •The reason you are, or will soon be, in default
    •Your current financial/employment situation
    •Whether you or someone else occupies the property
    •Whether or not you wish to keep the property
    The VA can assist delinquent homeowners facing loan foreclosure. However, it can be difficult to connect with the VA and sometimes the loan servicer is not helpful with this either. You will need to be persistent.
    The most common way to Save Home
    is to have a Loan workout. With a loan workout is by a workout plan with the lender where you are allowed a period of time to make up the default amount. In some instances the arrearages can be put on the back of the loan so so additional monthly amount is due. The VA is often helpful in negotiating a workout, but it is helpful if you, the delinquent borrower has a handle on your

  16. Preventing Loan Foreclosure If You Have A VA Loan
    If you think you will be unable to make your payments on time or are already behind, the VA can sometimes help prevent loan foreclosure. Here are some option that you might consider if you are facing loan foreclosure with your lender. These may work even though you may not have a VA loan.
    If you have a VA loan that goes into default the loan servicer is required to contact you to determine what is causing your default and see if arrangements can be made that can correct the situation and cure the default. If the problem is not resolved and you are 3 months delinquent, the loan servicer is required to contact the VA to let them know your loan is in default.
    Once the VA has received notice they will try to contact you to discuss your situation in detail to see what the best plan of action is. The VA can also assist in discussions with your loan servicer. The VA will need information from you before they can proceed, such as:
    •The reason you are, or will soon be, in default
    •Your current financial/employment situation
    •Whether you or someone else occupies the property
    •Whether or not you wish to keep the property
    The VA can assist delinquent homeowners facing loan foreclosure. However, it can be difficult to connect with the VA and sometimes the loan servicer is not helpful with this either. You will need to be persistent.
    The most common way to Save Home
    is to have a Loan workout. With a loan workout is by a workout plan with the lender where you are allowed a period of time to make up the default amount. In some instances the arrearages can be put on the back of the loan so so additional monthly amount is due. The VA is often helpful in negotiating a workout, but it is helpful if you, the delinquent borrower has a handle on your

  17. Oh Man! That is such a sad, sweet story. My baby is one and sometimes it seems like an endless stream of interruptions to take care of him while I"m trying to get somethign else done. This is a great reminder to me (what I needed!) to take some time and enjoy him every day (multiple times a day!). He truly is a wonderful blessing, and even if my life isn't the same as it was pre-baby (in terms of efficiency) things still get done and there's so much even better stuff to focus on!

  18. Hi,

    This is my first time to your blog so I don't know you yet, but I just want to say that that was a really moving post, I am moved, and it is great to see you are a caring dad!! Strangely enough just reading this post has made me look at my day differently and what is important to me. Reminded me in a subtle way not to take things for granted.

    Thanks