My Oxford American Dictionary defines a milestone as:
1. a stone set up beside a road to show the distance in miles to a given place
2. a significant event or stage in life or history
My life as a mom is filled with milestones of both kinds. Using MapQuest I can get the exact mileage from my home to the pediatrician's office, but it's better measured by time it takes to actually drive there once your sick child is strapped into the car seat with an appropriate comfort toy, pacifier, dose of Tylenol, and sometimes a DVD cranked up for viewing. A distance could also be measured by the amount of stress and anxiety the length of the trip might produce in relation to timing it to coincide with a toddler's nap time. This measurement means more to me than actual miles to my destination.
The other kinds of milestones are significant in the life and history of my child as she grows and develops. Early on I couldn't wait for her to sleep through the night. That milestone couldn't come fast enough. Other milestones have included: standing, crawling, walking and now climbing everything in sight; drinking formula every 3 hours to eating baby food and now getting her to eat anything at a given meal; sleeping in her pack-n-play's bassinette, to her crib, and now to her toddler bed; and cooing, crying, babbling, sounding out a word or two to full blown phrases and declaratory sentences often given in an imperious tone then sweetly adding please when prompted.
As a first-time mom I have often found myself voraciously reading parenting books and magazines to see when these milestones "should" occur, asking experienced moms when their children reached them, and praying my child was reaching each one "on time". However, two years into this parenting thing, I've finally come to grips with two facts: each child is unique and reaches a given milestone when he/she is ready and able and that I shouldn't wish away the time it takes for each one to occur because as they are reached my responsibilities change and often increase. For example, when she was not walking yet, I longed for that time so I wouldn't have to carry her around so much. Once she began walking, I had to step up my vigilance and child proof the house.
Now I'm trying to simply enjoy each milestone as it happens and journaling it as her unique history.