Thursday, December 21, 2017

Looking Back On A Year Of "Firsts"

As we prepare to celebrate Charlotte's very first Christmas with our family, I've been reminiscing about this past year and many of the "firsts" we've already celebrated.

The biggest first was of course the addition of Charlotte to our family in February, and it probably means I should start thinking about her first birthday party too!

Then there was the first time Charlotte rolled over during one of Grace's physical therapy sessions, the first time she sat up by herself, her first word (dada), her first tooth and her first time crawling.
It was a big year of firsts for Grace too!  In addition to becoming a big sister, she graduated from preschool, lost her first tooth, started kindergarten and even had her first overnight stay in the hospital.

 It's been interesting to me how much changes from the first child to the second child. I think Grace has "my first" bibs celebrating every single holiday that first year, even "My First Fourth of July." I did manage to dig out a few of those bibs for Charley, but I think most of her first holidays were met with a bit less fanfare.

And while we may not have had a party for Charlotte's first summer solstice, Kyle and I have celebrated each and every milestone she's met. It was a big deal when Grace first rolled over, but with Charlotte, we watched all the little signs that pointed her in that direction.

I have been fascinated watching Charlotte learn to feed herself. From the first time I put Puffs on her tray and she managed to get them all on the floor to watching her get them stuck on her hand and try to get them in her mouth. Now, she picks them up with her finger and thumb to carefully put them in her mouth. Well, most of the time.

And I have to say that I actually cried the first time she made her way over to our bookshelf and pulled as many of the DVDs on the floor as she could, wriggling in the huge mess she made with a big grin on her  face.

I have always told people I would give anything for Grace to be able to make such a mess and get into everything. And it brought me to tears to be able to see Charlotte do that.

Some firsts this year have been bittersweet. Often, they remind me of Grace's firsts, and of skills she no longer has. Sometimes, it's things Grace has just never been able to do.

 And while I find myself incredibly excited and happy for Charlotte, I also feel a twinge of guilt in celebrating the things Grace will probably never be able to do again.

But that moment usually passes quickly as Grace offers a smile for whatever crazy thing Charlotte has gotten into, and I'm reminded that Grace will be able to teach Charlotte far more than I ever will, and will be the best big sister Charlotte could ever ask for.

Most of the time, I'm pretty sure she thinks Charlotte is pretty great too. Just don't ask her when Charlotte is using her as a springboard to get across the room.

Thanks to everyone who has shared in our journey of "firsts" this past year. The journey is hard, and the road is bumpy, but when you have the chance to embrace each and every first with happiness, turns out it really is a wonderful life.