One of my favorite pictures of my daughter, Mallory, is of her first steps. The transformation from baby to toddler is found in this moment. Her short, slightly chubby legs were strong. Her crawl had turned into that weird thing babies do. It’s like a forward crab crawl. Instead of crawling on hands and knees it was sometimes hands with one knee and one foot. She had been pulling herself up on the furniture for a while now. Maneuvering from one piece of furniture to the next and when the gap was too far to reach, into the forward crab crawl she would go.
My wife, who has a tendency to worry, feared that it was too soon and that her legs would be bowed forever. But the excitement of the moment was too much for worry. We were thrilled so Tina grabbed the camera, not the phone with a built-in camera, just a regular “instant” camera. (By today’s expectations that instant camera was extremely slow, take 24 pictures, drive to the drugs store and drop them off. Then a week or so later you would pick up the pictures and hope that a few of them had turned out.) I tried to get her to walk by standing her up in her adorable pink Simba pajamas. Each time she would stand for a moment with her arms stretched high and then sit down.
We changed our approach by enlisting the help of her big sister, Olivia. At the start, I was trying to get her to walk, that was the only goal, to walk. But my goal was too big, she needed something more tangible, the smiling face of her big sister was a better goal. In the pictures you can see the excitement, the joy, the sense of family. These were her first steps into freedom and a great family memory.
The things that were happening at my work were important to me at the time. Now when I look back, I can’t remember the work. But I remember the thrill of those little pajama covered toes moving small steps ahead.
Don’t allow work to steal the irreplaceable.