For as much time as we spend at Disneyland, Mila’s first steps on Main Street should not have come as quite a shock. Though when your child has been practicing and practicing the whole standing/balancing act for a few weeks now, then finally something clicks and her tiny foot moves forward and the other follows … you freak out! I teared up, but mostly cheered like I was front row at an Ed Sheeran concert. (I adore Ed Sheeran) Of course now, Mila is accustomed to only walking with a wildly cheering audience. Can you blame her, I feel like I would walk with much more intent if I had my own cheer squad.
One, two, step! We’ve got a walker and Mama just can’t believe it!
As I mentioned, our entire family has been hard at work trying to get Mila comfortable standing upright. To my frustration really. I always advocated for her saying “She’ll walk when she is ready!” But the truth is, she won’t learn unless you practice. My friend Sarah even told me, “If you carry her everywhere, she won’t walk!” This being a hard pill to swallow because I selfishly want to hold onto and soak in every ounce of Mila’s babyhood. As we all know, once they start to walk there is no stopping them. So begrudgingly, I joined in and began helping Mila learn how to balance on her feet with out holding on to anything. We tried for weeks getting her to take an actual step to no avail. She came close and soon started to pick up her foot and start in on a step, only to fall and speed crawl to her destination. Almost as if she were telling us “Stop bothering me, I’m not ready!” I started hold her hand and help her walk more and more. We did this everyday to and from the car, room to room within our house. Mostly because I agreed, at this point I shouldn’t carry her everywhere. There is a fine line of wanting to hold desperately onto your baby as a baby and then having them learn, grow and understand how to move their bodies on their own. Bittersweet!
On the last day of being sixteen months old, Mila decided she could actually walk. She took a few steps towards Minnie and my heart nearly exploded. Honest, I felt blood pumping in my ears and it took every fiber in my body to not scream “She did it! She walked!” like a maniac. Instead of moving on from the characters, I decided to see if she would walk again towards Mickey. We waited in line and I asked a sweet mom who was in front of me to take video. (Hi Michelle, thank you to infinity and beyond!) I told the Disney photographer “My daughter just walked like for the first time! I’m going to see if she’ll do it again, can you snap a million photos of it?” I really did say that and she replied in her Disney voice "Of course!" In her head I'm sure thinking I was nuts. People started to cheer, I stood Mila across from Mickey (I’m literally crying while I type this, what is it with milestones being so damn emotional?!) and she walked toward him with wide open arms. Mila took a long series of steps and I cheered and held my breath at the same time it felt like. They hugged and had a major moment. When I went to get Mila Mickey waved my hand away so he could get one more hug. It was all really cute and my whole body was writhing with excitement.
I also think it is a pretty rad coincidence that Mila started to walk during such a depressing month. I say depressing for lack of a better word, though no matter how you slice it May is the month we lost Ryan, we were forced to learn life with out our son, we were forced to plan his funeral and then had to attend that damn funeral. For the past three years now May has brought with it anger and sadness. I believe my children work in mysterious and beautiful ways. I believe they know each other more than I can even attest to. I believe Ryan helped his little sister take her joyous first steps at our favorite place. Just so we can start to turn the anger and sadness in May away. Slowly and surly we'll get there. May will forever hold those tragic days, but now it also holds the day Mila took her first steps. What could be better than that? I love my children and what they do for each other. I love how they take care of Dan and I. I couldn't be more grateful.
Update - Mila still crawls. She only walks if we stand her up and cheer. She gets so excited and laughs really loud while walking though, even when she falls down hard. Its all fun right now. Then we'll both cry when she falls and gets hurt. That mama heart is so tender. At least mine is. Once she figures out how to go from sitting to standing I think she will then walk for good. So I still have a few good weeks of my baby baby. I do have to say, I think the reason why I was so emotional and excited when seeing her walk was simply because I was so proud of her. That unconditional, nearly primal love runs deep with pride when I look at my children. Seeing them accomplish milestones is nothing short of epic and causes feelings I never want to forget. Which is why I am sharing them here. Thank you for listening by the way. I hope it stirs up memories of your own children’s first steps. What an exciting time it is for us mothers.
Below are the photos from that amazing day when Mila decided to walk towards Mickey and Minnie at Disneyland! On to the next milestone …