I grabbed a dish out of a cabinet and noticed the bowl that I had previously designated as the soaking bowl for bottles and breast pump parts was back in its rightful place, ready to be used again for mixing and prepping food. And it hit me that this is a sign, a small and mundane milestone though it was, that my son is growing up.
My life as a mother is marked by so many milestones, and while it’s easy to recognize and celebrate the large ones, the small ones slip by so frequently.
I remember the last time I nursed my son, but I don’t remember the last time I had to hold his bottle for him. I remember his first steps, but not the last time he played with his first baby toy.
I remember his first word, but not the first time he fed himself with a spoon.
And as these tiny milestones pass, there will be so many more.
Along with the first time on the toilet will be the last diaper change. His last time in the highchair and the last time he eats “baby food.” His first day of school and the first day he brushes his own hair in the morning.
The first book he reads and the last time I read to him. The last time he calls me “Mommy” and his first sleepover.
His first school concert and his last time holding my hand to cross the street. The last ride in a stroller and his first time on a bike.
I might not know the last birthday we celebrate in person when it’s happening, but I sure will notice the first time we don’t spend our day together.
Most of these “milestones” won’t get their own Facebook posts, and I likely won’t know they’re happening when they are. But his growth, his becoming his own person, will be marked by these events.
Our apartment is undeniably the residence of a toddler, as plastic toys with bright primary colors are shoved away in corners to the best of their ability, and a to-remain-nameless furry red monster dominates the television. If he one day has a sibling, these markers may stay a bit longer, but even then, in time, toys become smaller and are delegated to bedrooms, and a visitor to our house might not even know that we have kids. And when that day happens, it’ll be one more reminder that my baby no longer is one.
So though, I hardly doubt I’ll start truly “living in the moment” so that one day I can recount the first time he did his own laundry for certainty, maybe thinking “this could be the last time he does this” will make temper tantrums more tolerable.