Plane to see

It’s a funny thing about the children: I’m watching them all the time, and still they manage to grow when I’m not looking.

We were on the plane, coming home from vacation, when I first really noticed it: M coloring in the lines. I mean, I’ve seen his artwork improving–or rather, becoming more exact. But kept still under the plane’s monotonous drone, I found myself entranced watching him color. Carefully. Almost entirely within the lines, producing neat drawings in reasonably accurate shades. And there it was: another thing that changed when my back was turned.

One other daily reminder? Height. I forever find myself mid-sentence about something he’s looking to reach (“Oh, that? I don’t think you can–“) when M can.  Household tasks he now performs, the monkey bars he swings between, the artful way he can use a hammer, the sudden switch of the legs in karate. Skills and traits I don’t expect to be there, simply because I never saw them change, things that most certainly didn’t happen as overnight as it might seem. There they are nonetheless, surprising me like a magician’s trick.

It’s not just M, either. K has started both preschool and dance, classes that she has to attend by herself. And every time I drop her off or pick her up, I marvel at the way she sits so patiently, follows instruction so diligently, acts so much older than she is. But then–maybe she’s just acting her age, an age that has failed to rise accordingly in my head.

It’s such a funny thing, and sad, too. Am I too busy to see it happening? Or is it just, as B often says, a case of standing too close to the chalkboard, where you can’t see the big picture constructed out of all the tiny details? Either way, I use it to remind myself, as the kids tackle new challenges that I’m most certainly sure they can’t be ready for, that very possible, they can.

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