It’s official---we have a legitimate walker in our house. Our 1-year-old is suddenly, out-of-thin-air toddling around like the tiniest Charlie Chaplin. She has that hilarious stance: butt jutted out, feet duck-splayed and little arms curled up by her sides. Sometimes she flaps them just for good measure, as if flying might be next on her list. Her forward motion is augmented with a side-to-side wobble that threatens to send her scooting to the floor in either direction. I so desperately want to fashion a miniature bowler, cane and moustache and perpetrate it on her. Occasionally, she revs up the engines a little too high, which can result in face-planting that ranges from controlled to . . . less so. Watching this process, I can feel the anxiety welling to the surface. I have visions of gluing packing peanuts all over her entire person. After all, I didn’t spend ten months eating algae-based DHA and another twelve torturing my breasts (THEY USED TO BE AMAZING. AMAZING.) so that she could crack open her fragile melon with one ambitious step over the dog. Incidentally, she has negotiated some kind of détente with the Ruby thus far, which seems to involve using her for a taxi, a way station, a pillow, a jungle gym---you name it---in exchange for the dog gaining unfettered access to her head, hands and feet for incessant licking. It is, all at once, achingly adorable and also disgusting. But here we are one year into her life and she has six teeth, can eat an entire avocado in one sitting, has finely honed comedic timing and ambulates.
I have spent a good portion of the past three years worrying. I worried I wouldn’t get pregnant. I worried she wouldn’t be healthy. I worried she wouldn’t develop appropriately. I worried she wasn’t getting enough milk. I worried I was working too much or too little or some combination of both. These days I worry she is growing at lightning speed and I am not appropriately savoring every moment. Having said all that, I would like to take this opportunity, at the start of a new year, this second year of my daughter’s life to stop worrying so much.
Today I was driving through Brooklyn, rushing from working in one location to another. As is typical, I was contemplating about 1400 tasks and projects while simultaneously replaying Isadora, elated, walking across our living room in my mind. In this particular scene, she scurried toward the front door, plopped down on her tush and hastily gave herself an enthusiastic round of applause. This memory prompted an audible laugh. But my next thought carried the sheen of sadness, “It’s all going by so quickly.” At that moment, the light turned green, and I noticed the side of the building next to me as I passed. In large, block letters, someone had stenciled onto the brick, “LET GO OF TIME.”
In 2013, I intend to release my tight clutch on each moment with my daughter while not wasting any more of them at sea with concerns. This is what parents do. I am not terribly unique in this. We claw after the days that slip away and busy ourselves with anxiety over things we can’t control. But perhaps if I keep reminding myself to loosen the grip now, at the beginning of all her beginnings, I can open up space for even more delighting.