The air smells of blackberries and dust and pencil shavings. On our walk the air is hot and dry, but the breeze has an edge, a sharpness that reminds me we’ve crossed into fall. There’s a golden quality to the light, and the geese are restless at the edge of Spring Lake. We’ve been watching them for months, first as grey-yellow goslings stumbling over the mown grass and bobbing in the shallows, becoming barely distinguishable from the adults as they grew. They’re curious and wary of your stroller and hiss when we get too close. They still cluster close to their parents, falling into a neat line as they slip into the water.
You just started to crawl.
For weeks you’ve been practicing, holding a plank pose, or belly-down like superman, up rocking on all fours. Lunging forward, unsure exactly how you achieved movement but delighted at your success. You’ve figured it out now, wobbly, but able to go where you wish. I recorded this milestone, marked the date, captured photos of those early explorations. But I did not take notice of the last time you lay on your stomach to play with a toy – and you won’t stay still on your belly any longer. Your achievements, large and small, mean the end of other rituals and routines, so I find I am both celebrating your new successes and already nostalgic for your passing babyhood.
The passing of time constantly amazes me.
Each calendar page turned means another inch you’ve grown, a new little habit, a skill learned. I wash a favorite outfit and put it away a final time. You practice a certain sound for a week straight before it’s mastered.
A year ago you were a secret I was waiting to tell. Now you’re here, reaching chubby arms towards the sound of the geese spreading their wings, readying for flight.