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How a booster seat caught me by surprise

by Traci Schumacher on Wed, 02/19/2014 - 12:39pm

The path of childhood is marked by milestones, some bigger and some smaller. There are the obvious ones like first steps, the first day of school, and the first tooth to fall out. I keep a mental list of these milestones as a sort of guide that my kids and I are on the right track with everything progressing in a healthy way. It's not a deliberate checklist that I planned. More like just a sense of what's ahead and what to expect.

Sometimes, though, the milestones are smaller, perhaps less celebrated, and unexpected. And yet they can stop me in my tracks and tug at my heart.

In the past week, my daughter turned 10, graduated out of her booster seat, and got her ears pierced. My 4-year-old also graduated out of his car seat and into a booster seat. Let me say, that is a lot for this mama's heart to handle all at once.

I would not have thought to list a change in seating as a major milestone, though we have as a family rejoiced in such events in the past. After all, the kids love feeling suddenly so much bigger, and their enthusiasm is contagious.

But in our family with three kids, the whole dynamic of our minivan has suddenly changed. Instead of one car seat and two booster seats dictating the seating arrangement, we now have only two booster seats for the boys and a regular seat belt for my daughter. There is new space, new flexibility. Our van's interior looks so open, so grown up. So wonderfully, sadly grown up. Wow.

Cue the sentimentality. Here's where I turn nostalgic and wonder where the time has gone. And wonder how quickly I'll find myself looking back on this day.

My middle child is eager to move out of his booster seat, too, but I'm sure he has at least a year or more to grow before he meets the criteria. When I told him his legs were not yet long enough, he went running up and down our street in an effort to make his legs grow faster.

Such is parenting at times. They yearn and strive to move on and grow up, while we ache for them to stay with us. But we know it is their purpose to run, to fly. And it is ours to help them launch.

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