"When did she learn to do that?" This is a phrase I've uttered too many times lately. Is it because I wasn't paying attention?
When did my four-year-old learn to write her name or draw a face complete with eyes and a mouth? When did my seven-year-old learn to do a perfect dive off of the diving board at the swim club or put a tiny, perfect braid in her little's sister's hair? When did my youngest daughter learn how to say words like "actually" and "respectful?" When did my older daughter learn how to tie her shoes in a double knot or cinch her belt on her jeans?
Somehow I missed these milestones. They just happened without me noticing them, and then all of a sudden they were there, boom, right in front of me making me wonder what else I'm missing.
People always say: "Enjoy your kids, they grow up fast." It's a cliche, but cliches exist because they are truisms.
Clearly, I need to pay closer attention. Otherwise I'll be saying things like: "When did she learn to drive a car?"
We make a big deal out of being there for our child's first words, first steps, first time they thow a ball. But I think it's equally important to be there for other "firsts" – the first time they play a song on the piano without stopping, the first time they draw a heart, the first time they do a perfect cartwheel. I am going to pay more attention. I surely won't catch everything, but if I'm lucky I'll catch the best stuff.