Monday, December 10, 2007

Daughter on the move is bittersweet for Mom

I can sum up the latest big news at our house in four words: Mihret's mobile. Mom's misty-eyed.

Our 10-month-old daughter recently started to crawl. Our safety gates by the stairs, which we purchased and installed last summer, now are a welcome sight instead of an unsightly obstacle.

During family time in the evenings after work, we've started letting Mihret loose to explore the nooks and crannies of her nursery, while we watch eagerly to see toward which toy she'll gravitate.

But at the same time, I've been experiencing an urge to draw her close, to hold and hug more tightly when she wants more than anything in that moment to move.

This milestone makes me realize how quickly children grow and change, and how fearful I am of the dangers lurking in unfamiliar territory.

We've gotten past the first scary moment, when we realized Mihret's stationary days were drawing to a close.

I'd placed her in the middle of our bed, an early morning hangout, and briefly turned my back after ending a phone call to put the phone in its cradle.

In the time it took me to do that, Mihret had flipped from back to stomach — which she'd done before — and scooted off the opposite side of our bed, which she hadn't. I rushed over, only to find her on all fours and grinning up at me. She'd landed in our bedside laundry basket, on top of a pile of dirty laundry.

Before she takes her first steps, I'm just going to have to loosen up and learn how to let go a little.

Kara Patterson: Post-Crescent staff writer