By Justin Harrison

  In times past, before interstates and freeways linked cities and towns together, common people routinely maintained most roads and paths at their own expense, performing the upkeep as a kind of civic duty. A practice developed where an ordinary rock, boulder, or marker was placed at every mile increment, becoming in a very real way the first form of interstate communication. These crude markers were simply called milestones, and in time the word has come to represent any significant event in a person's life. 

 As fast as children grow, it can sometimes seem like they reach a milestone every time you turn around - if not quicker! From early infancy on, there's a sense of accomplishment arriving all the time, as the child reaches early self-sufficiency and learns to do things alone that previously needed your help. If you're considering a gift for the child or the family to commemorate one or more precious events, the gift itself should match the occasion. Consider that for godparents and family friends and relatives, a keepsake gift often makes a fantastic memento parents can use to preserve the special occasion for years to come. 

 Some milestones worthy of giving gifts include:

  1. Baby's first tooth - the tooth is a popular choice of milestone, showing baby's rapidly developing body and also because the tooth itself can be saved as a family memento. Parents and godparents especially may wish to give akeepsake box, made of pewter, silver, or otherwise elaborately decorated, as a means of permanently storing the tooth. Some keepsake boxes also include drawers and containers for baby's first lock of hair, as well. The boxes themselves are frequently available for personalization, and many feature engraving and monogramming for additional elegance.
  2. Baby's first lock of hair- like baby's first tooth, this milestone represents baby's coming into infancy. The saving of a lock of hair as memento is a centuries-old practice, and many keepsake boxes feature a traditional theme in their construction. Locks of hair are usually kept by parents wishing to maintain a record of their child's growth, so a commemorative box or container is usually bought by parents. However, as mentioned above there are combination keepsake chests that accommodate hair and teeth alike.
  3. Fork and spoon sets- These gifts make lovely souvenirs of baby's transition to solid foods, or can be given for first and second birthday gifts. They often come in silver or pewter and can be personalized.
  4. Souvenir bibles- these gifts can be given at baby's baptism or christening, or can be given during First Communion or First Reconciliation. Many come personalized and with elaborate decorations. 
  5. Birth certificate frames and holders- to preserve the official documentation of baby's first milestone - birth!
    When planning to celebrate a milestone, remember that the point is to celebrate not only the growth that's already come but also the good times and growing still ahead. A milestone is, after all, only a point along a greater journey - not the destination.