“The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but on significance – and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
When I looked for the quote to summarize what I wanted to say through this post, I saw a lot of amazing quotes from amazing people talking about milestones and how moving toward your dreams starts with the first step, but what was missing was the sentiment that encompassed the challenges or dreams in our life not rooted in something “achievable” or a “goal,” that is, until I found this quote by Oprah. Leave it to Oprah to say what I am feeling across so many verticals in my life in one sentence. I suppose that’s why she is so very successful…hmmm…perhaps there is a lesson here as well but we can save that for a different post since we all know I am bit wordy.
I have had milestones on the brain lately and the seemingly required baby steps to get there with the bigger question hanging over my head of what constitutes a milestone? In some ways the milestones to me are more like dreams and I suppose it’s safe to say that in many ways I am a dreamer. Perhaps this is why I love books and writing so much is because, it is an escape from reality and I can transport myself to the place where everything is “as it should be,” but then too, I know that is not real but at least for a moment in time my heart and mind focus on the same point in time and when I am back in my reality I can think about what it might take to get there in real life. My dreams tend to encompass everything from Q & E as toddlers and everything is fine and E & Q are in the airport with KSP and me and they are wearing little backpacks as we board a plane to go to Oregon to see my family. E is a walking and talking and looking at us and strangers alike, straight in the face as she tells them of all the things she sees around her, I suspect she will be like her mommy “captain obvious” but we all need to point out the certainties in life on occasion, don’t we? Q is charming everyone in sight from flight attendants to other passengers…I have recently come up with his dating profile on Baby Match…”Attractive, blonde, outdoorsy 19 month old Libra who loves dancing, music, laughing and good food. Dislikes including, not getting what I want and having to come inside when I want to play outside.” The only thing I am not sure to include in his profile is his love of having his shirt off, we may have a bit of a “Situation” on our hands but I have plenty of time to train him differently (sorry Q no Jersey Shore for you)
My other dreams run the spectrum of family and career which include KSP and me in the future sitting in a variety of lovely locations having a glass of wine and watching our kids laugh and play with one another doing kid things, to my own family which include reunions with my family where everyone is together from both sides somewhere where the kids can play and everyone gets a long and is talking and we let go the baggage of the past to my using my voice to help others who are going through similar situations to find meaning and their voice wherever they need it most. Like any dream, some of these are within my control on some level and others are not but it’s a nice place to visit now and then. But, for now I am in our reality which brings me back to the question of baby steps to milestones. Most of this pondering on the topic circles around E and my personal dreams of what I want to create starting with this blog, but today we will talk about E and leave my baby steps as something I will work on offline until I can muster the courage to take the second step in my journey.
Since E came off the oxygen during the days, she is transforming into a different baby little by little, day by day. She coos all the time and is finally grabbing her feet and playing. She is enthralled with Q and last night as we played on the floor before bed there was moment when they were looking at one another smiling and communicating with their eyes and we all banged the drum (thank you Kahn family) together as we try to teach E how to play. Even as their mama, I could feel the bond that connects them and in some ways it was like I was an outsider in their world for that moment, and for once in my life (ok, maybe twice but I have deep-rooted issues in feeling left out, thank goodness they have improved over time, but I digress) I was ok with that, because it was one of the most beautiful things I have seen and it was a milestone in its own way. As I have said before, for months and months it was like E was in her own world which we would occasionally be welcomed into with a glance or a laugh but usually do to some hyper stimulation. Over time in the past 2 months, she has really started to engage with the world around her, including us, but each engagement is a separate isolated experience and just a small baby step in the right direction toward what is my ultimate milestone, prolonged eye contact. She gives me glimpses of this, and what could be, through more baby steps when often in the evening as I carry her to the back to her chair and hold her and kiss her one last time before putting her down. In this moment she will now often look at me, I mean really look at me and she has a softness in her eyes like she is welcoming me in for even that brief moment to say, don’t worry mommy, I know it’s you and I love you. Each time I feel my heart leap and hope surges through me as I wonder if we have reached “that milestone,” but then she goes back and I wonder if that moment in and of itself is a milestone and the answer is always yes. The beauty and magic of all of this is that E is now having several moments like this a day and each is a milestone in its own way because they are new for her and us and so rather than thinking of them as baby steps ultimately leading us somewhere it is the magic of a real laugh, or a moment of interactive play, or a loud coo, or bearing weight on her feet or hands when she used to scream, or a meaningful glance that is the milestone in and of itself.
This does not only apply to E, it applies to Q too. Each laugh, or letting go of the couch is magic in it’s own way as we can never have these moments back. They are unique interactions to be had only once in the way we are having them so they are not a step in the journey toward something but rather a moment to be treasured for what it is.
To lay this out for myself in the past couple of days has helped me focus on the significance of each moment and interaction, not just with my children, but with my husband, family, friends, colleagues and strangers. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, it had been a rough couple of days for KSP and me and last night when he came home as Q and I were laughing and dancing to Ke$ha “Tik Tok” yet again, KSP walked in and surprised me with an early Bday present. It was something I have wanted for quite some time so I was excited, but really the significance of the moment was what hit me. It was special in the thought, the gesture, Q’s laughter, E cooing and insisting on rolling on her belly so she could regurgitate her dinner and the love that filled the room. I love these moments in my family and in my life and I don’t want to see them as baby steps or stepping stones I want to acknowledge for what they are and in hindsight I can see them for the path they became but in the present and future I will see them for the dreams they are for me in that moment.
Whether or not you see your life as a serious of stepping stones or a paved road filled with some pot holes, I hope that you will see the magic in the moments of every day and that seeing those as milestones in themselves can help today be yournewfavoriteday.