What's Been

So, Eve is crawling. She’s been getting around on her own for a few weeks (rolling, dragging her legs with her strong arms, etc.), but now it’s undeniably crawling. She’s up on her hands and knees, moving at a startling speed from one dangerous small object to another.

With London, people would ask me when she first crawled—as if I knew the exact moment. Before I had London, that’s the way I thought it worked—I thought parents were constantly on alert so that the moment a crawl seemed in the works they could swoop in and capture those definitive first moments on tape. Now I know better. Most parents have no idea when their kids first did anything.

You see, Eve’s been heading down the crawling road for a while now. You could say it started when she first learned she could roll over multiple times in a row in a particular direction. Or, you could argue that it began when she first lifted her chest off the ground with her arms. Eventually, those things turned into crawling. And she probably officially crawled for the first time while I was rummaging through the refrigerator or unloading the dryer.

Why am I telling you this? Because I think what I’ve learned about catching the firsts is useful for anybody:

Things happen before we realize they’re happening, and what we see is usually an indicator of what’s been—not what’s beginning.

When I first saw Eve crawl, Eve was already crawling.

I think of colds and trends and moods and bad money management. I think of people falling out of love. I think of sin. We almost never notice this stuff when it’s just beginning. It isn’t until we’re knee deep in kleenex or debt or heartbreak or regret that we realize what went down while we weren’t looking.

I wish more parents understood this about their kids. I heard a mom talking about teenagers recently, about how a girl she knew had “made one mistake” and now she was dealing with some seemingly too-heavy consequences. I wanted to say, “The moment we see it is almost never the beginning of it.”

It seems naive to believe that the first time you caught it is the first time it happened.