April 30, 2010

Swinging with her eyes closed

One of the greatest things about being a parent is getting to witness those moments when light dawns and a child discovers something new about the world. And of course I'm not talking about new as in a new movie or a new toy, these are the things that are wholly new to them, never before imagined. Like the first time they see their toes or the first time the walk across the room. I remember Briton staring at his hands, wide eyed in wonder. As if to say" whoa, where did those things come from?" It never gets old, watching something click in their heads, seeing them figure something out.

At the same time, one of the saddest things about being a parent is knowing that all of this is fleeting. That every day that they grow older, less and less becomes new and wondrous. There are still many firsts out there of course. But now most of them are firsts I don't even want to contemplate. First kiss. First love. First broken heart. First dance as a husband or a wife. Those give me panic attacks. My children are already growing up too fast as it is. But the in between firsts are few and far between it sometimes seems. Which makes them all the more precious when the do come along.

Last week Evelyn learned to pump. One day it was "Push me! Push me!" and then next it was "Look at me! I'm doing it!" And after a few days of starter pushes to get the pumping going, it became "I can do it myself! Don't push me!" And away she went. It breaks my heart a little bit, not being needed in this small way. Of course mostly it's fabulous because it means that I can sit in my chair and read or daydream and not have to get up and stand in the sun to push. But still, a little sad.

She swings with her eyes closed. With abandon. Singing at the top of her lungs as she pumps. Forward, back, in, out.

"Twinkle, twinkle, little star."

She swings and swings and swings.

"How I wonder what you are."

And even that little sad bit of my heart has to smile to see the pure joy she finds in that simple act.

Swing on, little girl.