There is a park near our home that I have been going to since I was a child. This park means so much to me, because it was the place where I played “make believe,” the place where I got married, the place I took maternity photos, the place that we took our son for a walk when he was a baby, and the place my son grew up. During our usual walk around our favorite paths, I noticed something different about my son. Something that I dreamt of so many years ago…
Wait , Im getting ahead of myself. Before I talk about that day, let me explain the long history of this park and why it is so special to me.
Here is my sister Lindsey and I, sitting on the edge of the dock looking at the construction of a new wedding venue. I remember us asking our parents, probably more than once,”What are they building over there?” I wonder if on that day my parents looked at the future wedding venue and dreamt about their daughters wedding day.
On my wedding day, I walked the paths in the park with just my daddy. It was a precious time alone with him, for just a little while longer I was still his little girl. Well, honestly I don’t think a girl ever grows out of being their daddy’s little girl.
When I was pregnant I remember walking those paths during my maternity photos, and thinking about all of the memories we would make here as a family.
The same path that I took photos with my daddy as his little girl, I now took as my husband’s glowing wife.
On our last trip to the park something changed; I realized that my little baby had become a toddler. He was no longer content in his baby carrier or stroller – he wanted to walk. Not only did he want to walk, he also didn’t need any help from us. Every time we reached out our hands, he said “no,” while shaking his head. It was a moment of simultaneous internal sadness and utter joy for me. It was a day I dreamed of and, at the same time, feared. The day he grew up.
The play area that we usually pass by on our way to the infant swings was now a place that Caleb had to explore. He enjoyed playing with everything the structures had to offer him. The slides (with daddy’s help), sand, steering wheels, and buckets. Caleb had no fear. He wanted to climb and throw himself into piles of leaves.
Yes, my little baby is growing into “toddlerhood.”