Our vacation was spectacular, don't get me wrong. But during our getaway, I started to notice little things about my daughter that made me tilt my head and say, Hmm. My little girl is growing up. Maybe it's because John's inherent roly-poly babyness is so apparent; he's crawling so fast now, he screeches "Da-DAH" with joy when he sees my husband and "Mumumum" when he sees me. His littleness makes her bigness seem bigger, and yet my daughter is only about to turn five. How is this happening?
Most importantly, does this make us grown-ups? I remember asking my mother when she felt like a grown-up. I expected her to answer with something familiar, like, "When I had you," or "When you graduated from college." Her answer: "Any day now."
She was 40 then. I'm 42 now.
I guess part of my chronological confusion lies in the fact that time seems to be passing in a different way now that I have children. As a teacher, I have always been aware of the preciousness of time: I only have a few months to teach this unit/weeks to finish this book/minutes to grade this paper. In the classroom, I am constantly and consistently keeping an eye on the clock in both a literal and figurative sense. But with my children, it's different. I feel shocked when I see my daughter's skinny ankles peeking out of her favorite fleece pants that were inches too long a few months ago. I am floored when I turn to see my son inching along the couch in a valiant attempt to steal the tv remote.
Sure, I throw almost all their clothing in the dryer (the days of calmly draping my delicates over my shower rod to dry for the day are long gone) but my lack of laundry skills isn't solely responsible for her floods. And yes, I knew John would start to pull up and creep along furniture one day, since his love of anything with buttons has been apparent since he took my calculator off my desk. While nursing.
In short, I knew they'd start to grown up. I just didn't know it would happen so fast.
I think my children are so special, so wondrous and so incredible - not in the idyllic sense of "Oh, I believe they are perrrrfect," but in the very real sense of being awed by the things they say and do, and the glimpses of the people they will become. When my daughter offers the last bite of ice cream to her brother, when my son reaches his chubby arms to his sister and tries to bite her face (which is his version of kissing), when the two of them literally look for each other and smile even when they were duelling moments ago with the straws from their drinks, I am humbled by the grace they possess.
I hope I can live up to it.