Thursday, June 18, 2009

Every Step You Take

"The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest." -Thomas Moore

How many times do you hear it? "Wow, they grow up so fast."

"Enjoy this part of their life," parents of older children say. "They only grow up once."

Luckily for us, my wife and I are doing that as best we can. We're watching. Listening. Enjoying.

And just when you think you're going through the motions of another mundane evening, trying to corral your wild, headstrong, running child into her bed, she'll do something you've never seen her do before. Something that makes you realize how far she has come. Something that while insignificant to the casual observer, is in fact very significant to you because you are with her every step of the way.

They make progress without even noticing. So we as parents have to notice. We have to remark, document, and congratulate... without making too much of it.

Wrong shoes... wrong feet
They grow up so fast, and want to grow up so fast. Want to put on their own shoes and argue with you about which one goes on which foot. Want to pick out their own clothes even if they don't match. Want to walk up and down the stairs without holding your hand even though they are too short to reach the handrail.

Stairs aren't a problem anymore
 Well now she can reach the handrail. Now she does know which foot is which. Now she's understanding that blue stripes don't go with green polka dots.

Sometimes she just doesn't care and mismatches anyway.

And now, what once seemed like a tall task, an impossible mission, an unconquerable obstacle, is in the rearview mirror.

I can't count how many times my daughter has asked for help when she's wanted to get up and jump on our bed. Every time. All the time. Too many times to count. How many times did she ask for help when she wanted to get off the bed? Every time. All the time. Too many times to count.

"Help" and "Up" were soon replaced by "Go up there," then "On the bed, please." Every time, all the time, too many times to count I would say, "you can do it... go ahead." And every time, all the time, too many times to count I would give her a little push on her butt to get her over the top. Why are our beds so high off the ground, anway?

Climbing on furniture is second nature now
 But just last night, she did it herself. Without even asking. She wanted to jump on the bed and play up there with her little inflatable beach ball. Without even thinking, she threw the ball up there, used the wooden frame of the bed to propel herself upward, grabbed fistfuls of comforter tightly in both hands, and hoisted herself onto the bed.

I was so happy, so sad, so excited... I nearly freaked out.

Moving upward and onward
And every time the ball rolled off, and she said "daddy get it," I told her she can get it herself, and she did without hesitation. Sliding off the bed, retrieving the ball, and crawling back.

What will she not need my help with next?
It didn't occur to her what a giant step she had taken. It did occur to me that there is now one less thing for which she will need my help. That's what you get when you say you want to raise an "independent" child.

They grow up so fast.

1 comment:

  1. Whose standards say that blue stripes and green polka dots don't match? I say anything goes if you like it - all your own.


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