Silence. . .
I was surprised to hear Charlie’s voice on the other end calling from my MIL’s phone. She had just picked him up from school and they were on their way to meet Chanelle and I for lunch. Charlie has some sort of aversion to talking on the phone, (I think it’s that Y chromosome?) so I couldn’t believe that he had called me. His next words surprised me even more. . .
‘I read a book today’.
I remember so vividly the day, one and a half years ago, when we dropped Charlie off at preschool for the very first time. I remember the way he dug his heals in as we ushered him into a room full of strangers. I can still feel the lump in my throat that nearly killed me. I remember the stares of the staff at his tiny school as they watched me deplete the contents of their Kleenex box on the way to my car. I recall driving directly to my in-laws house where I let my tears flow. I smile as I remember the phone call I got from the director of his school who was just checking in to be sure that I was okay. Oh, I was so sad that day. So sad to let go. So sad to enter that new season. So sad for the change. Today, though, I understood. . .
‘I read a book today.’
He’s growing up. He’s learning. He’s becoming more independent, more confident. He doesn’t need me quite as much as he used to. I’ve been thinking about this growing-up-thing a lot lately. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. . . I grieve the passage of each stage in a big way. Crawling. . . tears. Walking. . . tears. This shirt doesn’t fit you anymore?. . . tears. Preschool. . . bawling. . . (You get the point.) Today, though, when I heard Charlie’s prideful voice tell me that he read a book. . . oh, man. . . I was excited. I realized that this is what it is all about. This parenting thing. This raising them up, giving them wings, and letting them fly thing.
Yep, this is the journey of parenthood. And it is wonderful and heartbreaking and glorious and terrible all at the same time. It is humorous and tender and difficult and easy, too.
Today, while my son was reading a book, Chanelle and I had the loveliest of tea parties. We sat together, the four of us, and we talked about our favorite things and it was perfectly simple. . .
And we talked and jibber-jabbered about the snow and her hair and going out to lunch with Charlie and Gran and why she shouldn’t put her finger in the tea and why I take so many pictures. And since she is three, such things are only entertaining for so long, so we move on. . .
and on. . .
. . . and on. . .
And in those moments I will myself not to forget. Not to forget the way her tiny little hands pour my tea. Not to take for granted this moment of concentration as she carefully beads a necklace before tying it around her neck. I soak in her laughter as she cheats in our game of Memory. And I delight in her careful grasp of the freshly fallen snow as she brings it to her mouth. . . . because these moments are good.
But these aren’t the only moments. What hit me today is that these moments get even better. As I watch their eyes open in awe and wonder. . . so do mine. When they are enthusiastic. . . so am I. To see them grow in courage is much like watching a butterfly break out of a cocoon. Is there anything more fantastic?
Oh yeah, I am celebrating today. I’m celebrating my sons latest accomplishment, knowing that there will be many, many more. Sometimes celebrations come with tears, and I think that’s okay. I am going to shed my tears proudly. Some of the tears will be sadness at a passing season. I think more of those tears, though, will be a celebration at the big and little steps my little ones are taking into this beautiful life. . .
Yep, I dig this parenthood thing.
Claudia Lady Bird Johnson