Disneyland might have been a big first, but it wasn’t the only first. In fact, we had a fantastic spring break full of them: our first bowling game, our first train ride, our first museum tour of Old Town. We managed our first day at Sea World sans stroller. Then, just when the kids seemed all grown up, K had her first soccer class.
With all this grown-up-ness, I had come to regret putting K in the mommy and me class. The next class up had 3-4 year olds, including M and a whole group of their friends, one of which is very close to K’s age. When I found out that there was a spot open in that class, I talked with her about moving up with the bigger kids, and she was so thrilled at the prospect. Until we got to the actual class, where she took one look at her friends off playing with their coach, turned around with her arms clutching my legs, and said, “I little kid! I go little kid class!” Oh no, sweetheart, not after all this talking and prepping and arranging to move you to this actual class.
There was a lot of walking over, reassuring, and a few nervous tears. But K participated, mostly, and has done so more and more every week. Yesterday she ran into class with her friends, eager and excited. Then a few moments later, I looked up to find her in front of me, her little mouth drawn into a pre-cry pout. “Exta hug?” she asked with remarkable composure. Of course I obliged. And I also provided two more, as well as a couple kissing hands. Then back to big kids class, walking that fine line that growing up always seems to toe.
Firsts are so exciting and scary, familiar and yet unfamiliar. I love watching them glow with the discovery of something new. I hate watching them wither in front of the daunting notion that the world is just that much more unpredicatable. It’s a toss-up, where the response might be, “Sweet, World! How come you never told me you could do this?” or it might just as easily be, “Holy crap, I thought I knew everything, and now you’re pulling this out ?”
But Christ came that we might have life abundant. As I recently told my mom, God wouldn’t have given us so many taste buds if we weren’t supposed to enjoy food–and that includes the good and bad, the very sweet and the mouth-puckering sour. And He wouldn’t have made the world so big, messy, creative, daunting, and full if we weren’t supposed to enjoy that too.
Speaking of enjoyment, M had one more first: reading. Nothing can make three letters more enjoyable than the sound of a little brain clipping those pieces together and coming up, as if by magic, with a single word. It’s a small step as most of them are, but the journey is so huge–daunting even to real big kid–that I’m glad we get to take them one at a time.