So many firsts

It really used to bother me to spend time listening to friends talk about their kids. Is it ok to admit that? It seemed like an island that any visit would inevitably land upon. There I’d be, hearing a long analysis about how a 6 year old girl was different from her classmates, or from her 5 year old brother.

Yes, of course, I’d think. Now let’s get on with it.

But now I have two kids. I have lost my ear for the impatience of the listeners who might be around me. Listen. I expect them to listen. Maybe not directly, but I sometimes wonder about putting a focus on adults instead of upon children.

But let me tell you about my kids. This is the end of summer. It feels like a prolonging of time, like the endless summer of adolescence but somehow different because this is the endless summer of infancy. I think its the weather – no rain, dust, the air pressure is off.

John jumped off the high dive board this week. At the pool, there is a short diving board — maybe 3 feet off of the water, and then a high one. The high one has a staircase. Its probably fifteen feet up in the air. When I was 6, I struggled to jump. I waited there for ever. Maybe for fifteen minutes. I walked down to the end. I stood there. I leaned forward. I felt the board bend, gathering momentum to push me forward. I leaned back. I turned around. I sat down. I inched out on the side.

John walked to the end of the board and jumped off. Water wings and all. Then he swam to me in the water. Incredible.

John carried himself across the playground on the monkey bars today.

Rosie had her own feats. She’s able to stand up in the shallow end. “The Big Pool, Daddy! The Big Pool!”

The biggest change is that Rosie started school on Tuesday. Today, she went alone for the first time.  She is very proud.  Her teacher is Rebecca. Ask Rosie what she did. She’ll say, “played with Becca.”

John doesn’t hide his affection.  Even at four, after school, he runs across the playground to hug.  Not Rosie.  She’s got this school thing and its ok if we take her home, but she’s not going to embarrass herself in front of her friends and act like she missed us.

Some of its not really about accomplishment. It is exciting just to be around the joy. John and Rosie are really playing together these days. They are friends and the rivalry is minimal. They play a game in the bathtub called “boomba” where they jump up and down in synch, making splashes. They share toys. Its great.

The Bulls played their last game of the summer tonight. They are in the International League Playoffs. I am standing out in the backyard, watering the dead grass.  It is 10:20 pm.  The game is over.  The stadium is only a mile away.  I can hear the fireworks exploding. They scare Samson. He wants to go in. I open the door.  We walk in. I turn to lock it. I hear a small small sounds, a rustling. Leaves are falling on the cement.


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