20 August 2011

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

The milestones of a child's development are amazing, painful, wonderful, scary and extremely tiring. Having survived the first year, Layla and my journey continues. I've spoken about the fantastic book 'The Wonder Weeks' before. The guidance on riding the waves of developmental leaps has been like having a special voice of comfort in times of worry and change. However, the latest leap has been more than trying. Over the past almost three months Layla has been going through some major changes. Her mind has been working overdrive. We've had serious separation anxiety resulting in hours of crying and night waking. There has been gastro and a cold to top things off. I've been a walking zombie going to work on two hours sleep and my marriage has been tested as the effects of sleep deprivation take it's toll.

The journey Layla has been preparing for came to fruition over the past two weeks. Her journey of a thousand miles has started with a single step. The first steps came a couple of weeks back while I was at work. She took a few unaided steps while with my Mum. I was both pleased and proud as well as devastated to have missed this milestone. The weeks that followed have been filled with attempts and falls, frustration and joys. The single steps has rapidly evolved into confident walking. We've graduated from soft leather slippers into big girl walking shoes. It is delightful to see her face fill with confidence and achievement as she conquers each days next walking challenge. The steps are becoming strides. Soon walking will become running. The complacent baby in her pram has become a boisterous toddler determined to walk everywhere despite the risks and dangers.

I'd like to say that the past fifteen months has flown by. In many ways they have but in other ways, the journey has been made up of many hard, challenging, sad, happy, tiring, exciting and slow steps. Each developmental leap has posed a new dilemma for me as a Mum and for Layla as a growing child. This last leap has been the hardest so far. I thought that as each step was achieved, things would get easier. In actual fact, each step build on the one before. Each step is steeper and higher and further away from the one before it. I look at back at newborn babies and pregnant women in the street and can hardly believe that I too was here not that long ago.

In order to mark each step, I have decided to commence a new project. I've decided to photograph each of Layla's shoes and build the pictures into a montage paying tribute to the huge steps we have taken together. I want to capture the new shoes as a symbol of anticipation and excitement that the future holds as well as the tired, worn and experienced shoes that show where we have been and how we survived. At times I feel like I have lost my opportunity to be creative now that my time has dwindled. This project will let me build a living tribute to the journey Layla and I are on. I look forward to being able to share the end result with you.

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