First Day and Everyday

Pickle

First grade starts next week.

First grade for my kind, freckled thinker who is finding his voice, and up at night pondering the merits of inboard motors.

He will be fine.  What choice does he have other than to be fine, to navigate his life on his own, at least a little bit, and figure out the way of the world through the small, significant, triumphs and heartbreaks of childhood.

The skinny-legged boy with the too-big backpack (aren’t they all?) will walk into school and I will drive away.  And get a coffee.  And drive to work.  I will not worry.

I am ready for the big moments.

I am ready for first steps, lost teeth, first days.  I am ready to watch them glide away without training wheels, to sound out books on their own, to tie their shoes.

My tender heart catches when I least expect it.

When the biggest helps the littlest with his shoes.

When the middle uses a big word I haven’t heard her use before.

When the wobbly toddler gait all of a sudden becomes smooth and coordinated.

We may mark the time with first steps and first days.  But it is those tiny changes, the ones we almost don’t see, that add up to people, our people, growing a hair’s width every night.  Our little people whose lives slowly and beautifully start to become their own, separate from us.  One millimeter, one second at a time.

In the cool dark, the clock ticks and they sing our bedtime songs with lyrics of their own.  And then a quiet pause as they drift away into dreams that are theirs alone.

 

 

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To Pickle at Five

More than four, less than six

I kiss your tangy sweaty little boy head as you push me away.

There is sand in your hair clinging to your scalp.

Because you were doing somersaults in the dirt.

I should have known.

***

In early evening you sit, tired from a day spent figuring out the workings of the world, inside and out.

Your little brother crawls over you.  And over you again.

You don’t mind. You barely look away from the program on the TV.

***

You have grown so capable.

Limbs lengthening. Now all muscle and bone, and soft tight skin.

New freckles dot your nose. Your teeth used to seem so big.

***

Last week we saw the planets, and marveled at the vastness of the universe.

How this goes around that, and that goes around this.

And I marveled at you, my boy, who entered this world face up, eyes open.

***

Reflection

Happy belated birthday to my dearest Pickle, a kind and generous boy who has only just started being a little too cool for my kisses.

Close up

Plum is Three

My dearest Plum, 

Sweet Baby Girl

I was about to write your brother’s “Happy Birthday” post when I realized that I never wrote one for you.  Alas, your March birthday – right in the thick of winter and our family’s craziest time of year – means that your big 3rd birthday recap is 2 months late.

 Birthday #3

The way I feel about you, the way I love you is difficult for me to type out in words. Not just because the feelings are so big, but because you are a complicated and amazing little person.

 Bed head

You are my girl.

Love this Goofy gals Mom love

You are so able to go with the flow. Until you aren’t.  

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You know what you want. 

Anna loves balloons (1)

We never have to wonder about what you’re feeling, though I often wonder what you’re thinking.

All style (1)

You have worked so hard lately to understand your very big feelings.  I’m so proud of you for this. And I’m so proud of how you’ve put words to them.  

Joyful (1)

Sometimes you thrive on your successes, working to be a big girl.

She found a highlighter (1)

Sometimes you choose to do whatever the heck you feel like.  I love this about you, although it can make parenting you a challenge.

So serious.

You challenge me, you always have.  I hope I help to guide you to good choices, without tamping down your spirit, your pluck, your voice.

My Anna (1)

You are silly.  You ask good questions.  You are learning how to be in charge of yourself. 

Joyful Anna

You are brave. Not a daredevil, but brave. Braver than I ever was.

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Your waters run deep, my little girl.  This is so very obvious to me, and perhaps why it is hard to describe and define you. 

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I am sometimes too hard on you – and perhaps expect too much. After all you are only 3.  I’m not sure why I do this – maybe because we’re so different, or maybe because we’re so alike.

 Outside fun. Spring finally (1)

Happy birthday dearest Plum, you are my heart.

What is that holding up your head?

And just like that, my daughter has a neck.

Granted, she’s always had a neck.  A cute little stem of a neck that I never really much noticed as it was holding up her big baby head, with its in-need-of-a-trim strawberry-blonde hair and sticky-outie ears. But today I noticed it.  Because it was different. She appeared to me, all at once, older, larger, like a child instead of a baby.

And that’s how it happens.  It’s a universal parenting experience. One day, when you aren’t expecting it, you look at that little boy or little girl and suddenly they look bigger, leaner, older, different.  They are changed – at least in your eyes – overnight.  It amazes me. Every single time.

Sweetie Plum

Turn Around (Harry Belafonte, Malvina Reynolds and Alan Greene)

Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you’re two,
Turn around and you’re four,
Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door.
Turn around, turn around,
Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door.

Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Little dirndls and petticoats, where have you gone?
Turn around and you’re tiny,
Turn around and you’re grown,
Turn around and you’re a young wife with babes of your own.
Turn around, turn around,
Turn around and you’re a young wife with babes of your own.