One Small Step, One Giant Leap

baby-walkingNothing makes a parent’s heart melt quite like their baby’s first, tottering steps into the safety of their loving arms.  Enjoy those moments because as soon as your kids master walking, they start to run – away from you.

When they are babies, we are our children’s entire world.  Then the tentative steps of the toddler leads them to the wonderful, terrifying discovery that the world is much bigger than Mommy and Daddy.  How much bigger dawns on them when they step into the great unknown of their first classroom.  Life moves forward in leaps and bounds once school starts and your baby’s feet are firmly set on the path of their own destiny.

Time is a juggernaut gaining speed at an alarming rate – junior high, high school, and college, up and up and out.

Our baby boarded a jet plane bound for England yesterday.  She’ll experience a semester abroad before starting her senior year in college.  My first blog post was about the pain of sending her off to college, and now we’re looking at the end of that leg of her life’s journey.  How can that be?  She was a 4-year-old traveling in her cardboard box time machine barely a day before that.  Good God, what’s next? Will I be waving goodbye tomorrow as she boards the space shuttle?

My husband and I have raised two girls into young women who are our pride and joy.  Now they are taking giant leaps forward into their own brave, new worlds.  They strike out full of confidence and bright, shining dreams for their futures.  I am so proud.

It’s every parent’s hope that their children will be able to stand on their own, two feet.  But it’s the ironic truth that if you do your job right, they’ll use those feet to walk away from you.  That’s how it’s supposed to be.  You revel in their independence and at the same time, oh, how you miss them.

byebyebaby

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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76 Responses to One Small Step, One Giant Leap

  1. Elyse says:

    I hope that she has a magical, mind-enriching experience, Peg. It’s a gift to her that she can go with your blessings (and your angst).

    Plus there is always Skype!

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  2. Al says:

    Sweet, tender and eloquent post, Peg.

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    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks Al. My mom once said “you spend all this time raising bratty kids and then, when they get interesting, they move away!” or something like that. True dat.

      Like

      • Al says:

        But don’t despair…remember the saying “A son is a son ’til he takes a wife, but a daughter’s a daughter the rest of her life.” Really true dat.

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        • pegoleg says:

          I don’t know. What really got me thinking was talking to Gwen just a couple of days before she left, about how when she gets back she and her Dad are going to road trip to the east coast to check out grad schools. I said “what about Chicago?” She casually said “I’m not going to end up living in the Midwest. I can’t wait to move!” Gulp.

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          • Al says:

            Well, proximity is another issue. Sometimes that can’t be helped. I’m talking about a bond that never breaks. Seems there’s a “period of adjustment” and then a resealing of that special daughter/parent relationship that was present at birth (especially for the mother.) And if grandchildren are involved your role will be even more important.

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  3. I imagine it must be very difficult, indeed, Peg… a very big ‘step’…
    but you must be very proud at the same time! Well, I know you are, because you’ve said so… but… well… you know…
    Your daughter must be very excited, too! I’ve never been to Europe! What an adventure! Very, very cool!
    🙂

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  4. Such is life as a mom. I can already see my kids slowly leaving me. My son spends most of his day in his room. I deeply miss his chubby cheeks and dimples… those simple days when I used to push him on his little swing and listen to his giggles.

    And my daughter? I can barely pick her up now. She still wants me to all the time, but she’s almost as tall as I am so my back won’t let me. I’d like to comment more but I can’t see the keyboard through my tears.

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    • pegoleg says:

      Hope those are tears of melancholy at my tender, touching tribute to the swift passage of time, and not tears of pain because of your wrenched back, Darleeta.

      Like

  5. Ah yes, I’m sure every parent can relate. My two are 14 and 11 now, and I really can’t bear to look at photos of them as babies because I can’t understand why they aren’t little any more. I can’t imagine what it’s like when they leave home! What part of England has she come to? I’m sure you/she have contacts in England, but if she needs any help, I’m another one!

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    • pegoleg says:

      She’s in Brighton. Aren’t you on the southeast coast V?

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      • Ah Brighton, lovely! Yes, I’m the very far corner of the south east coast, which is about 2 hours drive from Brighton, so that’s right next door in US terms! My boss was just at the university in Brighton for a meeting today funnily enough, and my other half’s son lives there. So yes, if she has any problems (and I’m sure she won’t!), you can call on us 😉

        Like

  6. Lindy says:

    I enjoyed the picture sequence at the end of the post. That was a touching post that left me with a little giggle looking at those pictures in order.

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  7. rachelocal says:

    I bet you are a such a loving and hilarious mom that your daughters keep coming back for more. Loved this post, Peg!

    Like

  8. My wife and I have been slowly getting rid of the exersaucers, baby swings, high chairs, etc. that come with having a little one in the house. My youngest is two and I already miss the baby years. I don’t know who’s attributed to the quote “the days go by slow, but the years pass by fast” but it’s so true. Your daughter must be doing well to be able to study abroad in England. You did nice work, Peg! You should be proud of her and yourselves. She’ll be back though. They always need their moms and dads at some point, so all we can do is wait with open arms to be there when that time comes.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I love that quote – so true! The good thing about your stage of parenthood is that you can make some serious cash at your garage sale when you’re unloading the baby stuff. 😉

      Like

  9. Pleun says:

    Being a traveling daughter, I realize I cause hurt when leaving. We’ve talked about it quite a bit. But as a parent you should know, it hurts the daughter to leave as well. Or it freaks her out, which is kind of hurting 😉
    And somehow it always seems a little easier (marginally, but still) on the person that is going to travel; this is why my parents like to come look me up and then leave.

    Like

  10. joehoover says:

    I didn’t think much of it at the time, but my mum’s three kids all left home within a year, my sister to university, my brother to set up home with his girlfriend and myself just to kickstart my life in London. I remember she acted weird afterwards but forget what a change this was in a short space of time, living in a small house full of noisy teens to suddenly be empty.

    It’s a nod to the job they did and yourself with your kids that they are independent enough to venture out on their own. It’s the ones who never leave you need to worry about!

    They are over it now, going on about 4 cruises a year and enjoying semi-retirement, now I never know where they are, only when I get a fridge magnet from Italy in the post do I know they’ve been away on a last minute trip. It’s good they have the money to do that now we’ve stopped bleeding them dry 🙂

    I hope England welcomes her with open arms (and that the weather improves for her – it feels like January right now) 🙂

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      You DON’T think about how tough it is for the parents with the self-absorption of youth – I know I didn’t. My Mom said when I drove off with my Chevy Citation loaded with boxes. excited and scared about my first, post-grad job in another state, she sat down and cried.

      She was concerned about getting a new bathing suit for Brighton – hope she gets to use it!

      Like

      • joehoover says:

        22 degrees centigrade on Sunday, there is hope! That’s pretty warm for us lately. Sorry I don’t understand fahrenheit.

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        • pegoleg says:

          Isn’t that funny. I automatically assume you’re super-science-smart because you understand celcius!

          I’m staring at a baggie full of your kind of money, Joe, that I bought off a co-worker who got back from the British Isles yesterday. Everybody’s going – it’s the thing to do!

          Like

          • joehoover says:

            Yay! We’re doing something right! For tourists anyway – they just treat their citizens with contempt! (That’s what I read in the papers anyway, I’m usually unaffected by the Governments pranks)

            Like

  11. So poignant, Peg. I enjoyed reading Gwen’s first trip blog post and look forward to many more.
    And I feel your anguish and love in all your well crafted words. Love ya!

    Like

    • PS – The fabulous Wimbledon Tennis Tournament started today…oh what I wouldn’t give to go and see some of the matches, just to see that hallowed ground! Maybe she can check it out?

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      • pegoleg says:

        Oh jeez, wouldn’t that be great? I doubt she’ll be heading to Wimbleton, though – not her style.

        Did BIll send you the link to her travelogue? She’s already talking about heading to France and the Netherlands! Oh, the places she’ll go…

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  12. Peg! TechSupport just finished middle school, and this weekend we attended my niece’s high school graduation. While sitting there, it occurred to me, he’s the next one. I only get four more years with him and then he is going to fly away. I can’t believe it. My parents always said that time starts to move faster and faster. I didn’t believe them.

    But.

    Now I get it.

    Wasn’t they just babies, keeping us up all night?

    As you said, it is as it’s supposed to be — but seriously?

    *weep*

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I hate to make you feel bad, but high school simply flies by. Flies. It’s the shortest 4 years of your child’s life. Enjoy your time with him (after he gets back from camp, of course).

      Like

  13. Nagzilla says:

    This post touched a nerve because we just picked our 15 year old up from the airport yesterday. She just spent almost two weeks visiting an aunt and uncle in Texas, and this was her first solo airplane ride. In some ways it doesn’t feel like much, but I know in a couple of years she wants to head to Japan for an exchange program, so it was a good trial run. How do they grow up so fast? Especially when I haven’t aged a day!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Oh my, that first trip alone is nerve-wracking…that’s what this was for Gwen.

      I’ll never forget her sister’s first solo plane trip. She went to visit her aunt and uncle in Boston. We were nervous, and delighted she flew in and out of Logan airport without a hitch. Especially since exactly one week later, 2 planes flew out of Logan and into the World Trade Center on 9/11.

      Like

  14. bigsheepcommunications says:

    I’ll meet you at the shuttle launch pad – we can cry together!

    Like

  15. The ultimate of ironies, isn’t it? You raise them to not need you.
    They may not always “need” you, but as they become more independent, they’ll want to be around you, which I think is the best testament to a terrific parent. And you most certainly are.

    Like

  16. Very sweet! The good thing is that the more they leave us they more they appreciate us and understand why we did the things we did that they may not have liked. Are you planning on visiting her?

    Like

  17. Go Jules Go says:

    How exciting! And bittersweet. I hope she comes home with an accent. A proper one. Not like Madonna’s.

    I know you’re a top-notch mom mum, Peggles!

    Like

  18. pfstare says:

    I think every mother understands your pain. She’ll love it over here though 🙂

    Like

  19. Nicely done Peg – as usual. I was unable to enjoy my own version of sweet nostalgia quite as purely as you did, since my oldest brought a grand daughter into the world before my youngest had gone off to college. Plus, all three of my kids were considerate enough to leave a malodorous, needy hound behind when they boogied out of this place. We’re not allowed to be lonely, or she’ll come over and leave a U-shaped drool mark on our pant legs. Then she’ll fart and get up in her chair.

    Like

  20. Valerie says:

    You are strong beyond words! I have already told my 2 girls that when they start leaving home for college, I’m totally going to stalk the hell out of them.

    Hugs!

    Valerie

    Like

  21. Becky says:

    You and Bill have raised such lovely,smart & fun daughters! I am enjoying Gwen’s blog of her adventures abroad. No surprise that Gwen possesses literary talents and humor. We are looking forward to Bill & Gwen’s trip out to Bahston.

    Like

  22. PinotNinja says:

    What an amazing experience for your daughter! She must have been raised by an awesome mom to be ambitious and brave enough to take off for Europe for a semester on her own. It’s going to be a tremendous thing that will change her forever, and you’re a great parent for supporting her while she does it even though it leaves you weepy.

    Like

  23. Blogdramedy says:

    I suspect you’ll still get the chance to do a load of laundry for her. That’s not just for guys. 😉

    Like

  24. pmahaney says:

    Peg raising our children is full of conflicts, but the biggest one it seems to me is when they move on with their own lives. We find ourselves at odds with our happiness that they have grown up, and our sadness that they have grown up. Rationalizing that this is the natural order of things, well that just won’t help either. I suspect you will be even more happy when you see her again, than you are for her embarking on this new adventure.

    Like

  25. How wonderful for your daughter that she has this opportunity to experience a semester abroad before starting her senior year in college. Too often when they graduate the pressure is on to start their careers and before you know it they are caught up in work and raising their own family. She will remember this time always and thank you for it.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      That’s what we thought. There will never be another time like this, relatively free of responsibilities. Wish I’d done a semester abroad when I was in college…back when I would have got there on the Lusitania.

      Like

  26. Sandy Sue says:

    I honestly can’t imagine. It must take such herculean effort to change gears. I’d say an umbrella drink is in order.

    Like

  27. How exciting for her, really! I know it seems odd, but how exciting for you also, she is grown, mature, intelligent and trustworthy enough to be sent to a foreign land to study. This is an awesome experience, for her and honestly come on for you.

    Skype is easy and if you don’t have a camera on your tablet you can buy one cheap and hook it up! Skype is the best!

    Like

  28. That’s tough, but fish gotta swim and birds gotta poop. No wait. They do have to poop, but that’s not what I meant to say… 😉

    Like

  29. winsomebella says:

    You done good, Peg-o-leg. Successful launch 🙂 Gotta say, I so like your soft side now and again.

    Like

  30. sukanyabora says:

    How wonderful!! Congratulations and safe travels to your daughter. Are you heading over soon for some good ole English tea or perhaps strawberries and cream?

    Like

  31. pattisj says:

    What a wonderful opportunity for your daughter. Congrats all around.

    Like

  32. brunettelyceum says:

    Reblogged this on alwaysenduponbride and commented:
    young people now on my country already think a lot about this stuff, me either.

    Like

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