What First Steps Really Mean

You guys, Joey walked yesterday. He stood up, looked around and walked like he had somewhere to go that was much more important than where he was.

I have never been more proud of anything, or anyone, ever, than I was right then.

Joey also turns a whole year old in a mere ten days.

What happened?

Oh ya, we got pregnant and had a baby. We even kind of planned it. Like we said to each other, “Let’s get pregnant and have a baby and turn our world upside down!”

Not totally sure we were thinking straight, but let me tell you something. It’s been the best year of our lives.

If you had asked me if I ever thought we’d spend so much time watching a baby try (and most often fail) walk for the first time, I would have told you that you were crazy.

I mean, what did we even do before we had Joey? Did we just sit around and talk about other things? Like what? What could we possibly have to talk about that much?

But something else happened this last year, too. I learned so much about myself I didn’t even realize there was to learn. I know that we never stop growing as humans, children of God and as spouses and parents and siblings and friends and all that jazz. But what I didn’t realize is that there is this huge part inside your soul that is completely dedicated to self growth as an individual.

Examples?

  • I’m more self-disciplined
  • I can control my emotions better (still not great, but better)
  • My time is more intentional
  • I realized how to be a good friend and what that meant
  • My multitasking skills are significantly more refined
  • The understanding of what it means to be a great wife change completely


Sure, you can learn many of these things without having kids at all, but notice, none of these things actually have anything to do with being a mom. It’s simply self growth.

How the hell does that happen?

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I still can eat an entire box of mac and cheese and not blink an eye, or cry at a freaking Rocket Mortgage commercial, or scroll Insta while Joey ruins the TV remote, or yell at my sweet husband, or forget I even have friends sometimes, but nonetheless. In general, I have been able to grow so much as an individual this last year.

So when Joey took those first few steps away from me and towards something else, I realized that maybe, that’s the point of this first year.

It’s so hard, so terribly hard. And so terribly wonderful, too.

But if I hadn’t been able to grow, for myself, how would I be able to teach Joey how to grow into himself, too?

Every night I tell him that he is brave and kind and smart - that he is rejoiced over every day. But what I forget sometimes is that I am, too.

His steps reminded me that I, too, am growing. I, too, am learning how to do things I’ve never done before.

Ask me again, in ten days, how I feel. It will probably be different. Granted, Joey is taking an extra long nap at the moment and I am freshly showered and coffee filled, so life seems pretty great. Mid-tantrum about taking away his tupperware hat might have me singing a different tune.

But that’s part of it, right? Growing. Being able to nap and cry all in the same minute (I’m talking about me, not Joey). Or being able to take your first steps, away from Mom and Dad and towards your tupperware hat. It’s all important. And unexpected. And hard and wonderful and freaking weird.

Nicole Andreini