Milestones: What Do They Mean?

It’s been a week of certain milestones. Sometimes it is hard to put together what they all mean.

Having a new baby in the home means you are always looking for those certain milestones: first time they pick their head up, first smile, first laugh, first time they ask for the car…ok, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here. But I am leaning, milestones are big for parents. For sappy folks like me, those firsts have an even deeper meaning. I am one of those people who are all about history and milestones.

Milestones aren’t just firsts. This week, on my way to work, the car I drive passed a milestone. 100,000 miles. And I have driven almost all of them. I have nearly been in that vehicle for the entire 100,000 too. (No wonder my behind feels like it does.) This is the third vehicle I have driven over 100,000 miles in. I have to think, that at this point in my life I’m approaching probably 500,000 miles driven.

I come from a long line of truck drivers. So for them to read 500,000 miles driven is something I am sure would invoke laughter. For me, it is a moment to pause and think of the places I have had the opportunity to drive, the people I have been blessed to travel with, even the items I have had to transport.

First the people. Working the job I have worked for almost 20 years, I’ve been pretty blessed with great travel companions. Discussions that weren’t limited to just work, the also revolved around faith, humor, and life. In fact, I sit here thinking of the discusions I have had with people on those long drives that I heard this from a travel companion, “You would make a great dad.” Oh, boy, I guess I finally have to live up to that one. The one item I have to mention here is that without laughter, I am certain I wouldn’t do the job that I do. And if there is one thing I have to say about travel, it has always included laughter.

Items I’ve had to travel with are another part of this milestone that makes me take a pause. A few of the larger items, literally as well as figuratively, include an industrial air conditioner. Loading it into my vehicle took three guys and scraped the daylights out of my back bumper. Three guys to lift it into place and one hard press of the brakes at 70 miles and hour to remind me that I should be a more careful driver or they would have found me squished against the windshield by an industrial A/C. (One of those warnings: “Danger, Will Robinson!” rang through my head that day.). A moment that brought me to prayer.

Yet the second most sacred item I have transported was a monstrance that was blessed by Pope John Paul II. This was after he had already passed and I needed to get it from Green Bay back to Kaukauna. That was a trip where praying seemed like the right thing to do.

The most sacred item. Well, forgive this sentimental dad, but as long as I live I will never forget driving Maggie and Sue home from the hospital. The entire family in the car. And I’m pretty sure we all three had tears in our eyes. Now whether that was pain, hunger, or (in my case) such unbelieveable happiness, is unclear. It is one drive I will never forget.

So what do milestones mean? Are they merely hurdles through ife? Are they moments to stop and take pause to reflect? Or are they just another bump in the road? I guess it depends upon what they represent and how long it takes to get to them.

Sure it is a milestone when the first bottle of wine is pressed and corked. Yet it isn’t as important a milestone as when the wine has matured to the proper age and tastes absolutely perfect.

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