My baby girl started to crawl this week. She is seven and a half months old, and this is the first in a very long line of milestones in which she will assert her independence. One day, she will set out on her own in this world and this is one of the beginning steps in that journey.
As she took her that first independent venture across the living room floor, leaves were falling outside. The yellow tree in front of our house was bright yellow, the leaves like falling sunshine. It set our house and front yard aglow, cast the colors of fall throughout our little house.
Fall has always been a nostalgic time of year for me. Kids leave behind the freedom of summer for books and winter coats. We carve pumpkins and then turkeys. We start to think about picking out the perfect tree to decorate. The baseball season gives way to October payoffs, and the I think of my grandma, whose hope sprung eternal, but never saw the Cubs play in the World Series. The flowers wilt, the cold rain seeps into our skin and bones, and we turn inward. We close our windows. We draw our shades earlier and earlier in the evening.
With the pride I feel at my little girl’s strength and independence, I can’t help but feel a lump in my throat. My first summer as a mother is coming to a close and I think about the summers we will have together. The few summers of my life that I will have with her as a little girl.
I see my sweet little girl crawling toward her future. Toward my own. And I feel my heart fill up, overflow, and break.