For me, the concept of missing a milestone in my kids’ lives is unthinkable. I realize that at some point in time it will happen – in fact, it has happened – and I cannot dwell on that. The best that I can do is hope to be there for the most important milestones and rationalize the ones I miss. For me, working from home makes it possible for me to be present when my kids reach their milestones. First words and steps are always with me present. I’m there on the first day of school. I’m there for every field trip and school performance. I’m there for every class party and every momentous occasion, except for the ones that I miss.
When I missed out on going on my daughter’s very first field trip when she was in kindergarten, my heart broke. I’d just given birth to our twins the week before, and my husband and I made the decision to let my mother-in-law go with Addison so she was not alone. I am so grateful to her for being there since my husband and I were just home from a weeklong stay in the NICU and wanted to be with the babies, but my heart hurt. I felt like a bad mother, even though I knew my reasons for not going were beyond valid. That’s when my husband said to me, “Hey, you get all the milestones. Think about me at work every single day reading texts and watching videos you send to me when the kids do something new and exciting and I have to miss it,” and that’s when I realized that I need to stop my pity party and my complaints and replace those thoughts with appreciation and gratitude that I do get to be present for 98% of the milestones our four kids achieve.
It might not always make me feel better about missing something, but it’s the truth. It is virtually impossible to witness every single milestone our kids reach throughout life. So, with that said, what are some milestones that seem much worse to miss out on than they really are? We have a list of milestones that might be okay to miss – better, at least, than other more important milestones.
The First Steps
No one wants to miss seeing their baby walk for the first time, but it’s not like your kid is about to run a marathon. It might be days before he or she takes another step, so it’s like reliving that moment a few times. I say this having witnessed my two oldest daughters and my son walk for the first time. My son’s twin sister, however, took a bit more time than he did and we missed this milestone on a mommy and daddy only getaway over Memorial Day weekend. It was heartbreaking for me to realize that I’d missed out on seeing her walk unassisted for the first time after working with her so long, but my husband reminded me that the video our parents shot for us to watch is exactly how he witnessed all four of our kids walk for the first time. At the end of the day, it wasn’t a big deal. Our kids are not going to remember, anyway.
The First Word
This is another milestone we don’t want to miss, but it’s really not a big deal at the end of the day. I mean, a year from now are you going to sit back and shed tears of sadness because you missed your baby utter a virtually unintelligible word that may or may not have been “dada” every single time and never “mama” the first time? No, you’re not. Let’s save our sadness and self-pity for the milestones our kids will remember and potentially hurt for.
The First Day of Any Grade Other than Kindergarten
The first day of kindergarten was a big deal for our daughter. My husband took the day off, we drove her to school together, parked the car and walked her to her classroom for the first time. We kissed her, took photos and cried all the way home. The first day of first grade, we did the same. And then the principal stopped us and said, “Hey, guys; she’s in first grade this year. Kindergarten parents are the only parents allowed to bring their kids into the school…back to the drop off line!” We were devastated, our daughter told us she told us so, and we realized that the first day of school is not the big deal we thought it was beginning with first grade.
First Field Trips
There will be many years in which you will want to go on field trips with your kids. And there are many years when your kids will not want to see you on the bus with them to a place they want to visit with their friends without you present. The first field trip is not a big deal. I mean, it absolutely felt like a big deal when we missed it thanks to just giving birth to twins, but it was my mother-in-law who brought our daughter home that day covered in chocolate ice cream some kid spilled all over her and stressed to the max about keeping 3 kindergarteners in line all day long. There will be more.
The First Lost Tooth
So far, only one of our kids has lost a tooth. And it was 9 months ago. She lost it the last night we slept in our first house – the house in which all four of our kids came home from the hospital – which seemed so fitting. We were so excited, and it was a little bit shocking to me to hear our daughter ask us why we were so excited? Her friends lost their teeth at school, in class, in front of one another and got to brag, and she wasn’t going to get to do that. She was devastated that we were there and her friends were not. Shows us, right?
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