Thursday, November 29, 2007

They collected stones

skipped stones, and even made steps out of them. Small stones that held little significance at the time and larger stones that had me clapping my hands and reaching for the camera. Half the time their stepping stones went unnoticed as I recognized them only as my children growing and transforming into their own selves. It’s taken me three tries at motherhood to realize that the smallest stepping stones come neatly wrapped in shiny paper tied with pretty ribbons. They're seemingly insignificant like the first time my Boy remembered to hang his sopping mittens on the drying tree without being asked. Or the way my Girl dragged a chair across two rooms so she could reach the peanut butter without asking for help. And most recently, I secretly watched my Toddler struggle to dress himself in rubber boots, big boy underwear and a favorite cotton shirt. They’re each only fleeting memories of growth that add up to a small person making their way towards independence.

I have three children. Three gloriously individual children who each come standard with larger-than-life personalities. One asks for help when another would rather sweat it out in frustration until they feel in control. One may require my attention during bedtime while another needs me in the chilly hours of the early morning. He, for the most part, accepts the many conventions of life while She questions the order of everything. Each of their spiritual chapters are written with the inquisitive progress that can only come from them, and are marked with the individuality that only their mother can fully appreciate. Unfortunately my appreciation doesn’t always fall in the moment and I often become preoccupied with the raising, feeding, cleaning and teaching element in my job description. I sometimes forget to STOP. Watch them walk with confidently steady legs. Listen to the lowering sounds of their voices that once rung high and squeaky. Smell the tops of their messy heads, while unsuccessfully searching for the familiar scent of the small child who once bathed with bubbles and ducks. Giggle at the teeth and feet that seem to have simultaneously become too large for their bodies. Run after their taunting faces only to realize that even though I may be a faster sprinter, they can rapidly overcome me with the stamina and endurance of their healthy young bodies.

Watching my older children climb stones with increasing ease has given me pause to appreciate my youngest little boy. It’s like putting 75¢ into the candy machine only to serendipitously see two candy bars fall to the bottom. Another chance to relish and savor the nutty, chocolate-y happiness that only a snickers bar can offer.

I have this third babytoddlerboy. I have another chance to fully notice and realize the magnitude of each stone he scrambles up when joyfully struggling to keep up with his biggies. Maybe I did make a note in my mental margin each time She tried to climb. I’d like to think I just had to make room for the enormity of her accomplishments by keeping only the big stones in my immediate memory retrieval bin. But I feel as though I’m keeping a constant vigil on my third child for chance he’ll suddenly grow tall and walk away, not reaching for my hand.

He’s it for me. The final occasion during which I’ll be delighting in every.small.stone. I don’t want you to leave my breast, use the potty or write your name. Just yet. Let me selfishly indulge in every warm breath you exhale onto my cheek as we nestle under the blankets; you’ll sleep alone soon enough. Let me hold your hand every step up the driveway; you’ll want to walk it alone soon enough. Let me hold you on my hip until my arm falls numb; you’ll stay down soon enough.

Let me find the patience through him to stop and truly see; all three of my children will scale the stepping stone wall and be off on their own journeys soon enough.


Blogger mama said...

Beautifully written. I can understand your reluctance with babytoddlerboy. I know I wish for E to hurry up and be big but the truth is I would be foolish to wish it along so quickly.

Anytime you need a dose of baby, remember, I'm going to have two. You're always welcome to steal a snuggle.

6:22 PM  
Blogger ©Jac said...


2:29 PM  

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