There was a little moment today that is imprinted on my mind. It only lasted a few seconds, and I doubt anyone else realized what was going on, but I did and for the rest of the day I've thought about it.
Today was a barbeque at our new parish and for the first time in a very long time we decided to go. Without the food allergies it was an actual possibility.
There was a tent with tables set up under it a short distance away from the school's playground. We walked the kids halfway to the playground, which is fenced in, and told them to go play while we walked back to grab plates and food.
We thought that the easiest thing to do would be to get the food and a table and then call them over, letting them get their wiggles out after Mass before we sat down to eat.
Patch noticed immediately that we weren't over by the playground and came sprinting over to stand in line next to me.
I had my eyes glued to Maggie while I waited and suddenly I saw her stop and look around and realize that we weren't right there watching her.
And she turned around and ran back towards the tent. I watched for a few seconds as she got closer and her eyes swept back and forth through the faces of the people already at the tables, searching for us. I said "Maggie!" and she saw us and Paul walked over and she held his hand and walked to a table and sat down.
This is huge. Since Maggie was a tiny baby she would take off and not look back. When she was ten months old I watched her as she crawled off across a field, to see how far she would go, and she simply kept crawling, totally oblivious to the fact that she was leaving me behind. When she eloped last summer she didn't seem concerned with being out in the forest on her own.
She has always seemed to be totally unconcerned with whether the rest of us were coming with her when she was attempting to go out on her own.
So noticing that we aren't right there with her and coming to look for us is a milestone that felt incredibly far off, not all that long ago.
I won't be throwing out her GPS anytime soon but still... baby steps!