My little son. My huge son. My thoughts on my son before my daughter was born. My thoughts on my son after my daughter was born…
My son is two and a half and for two and a half years I’ve thought of him as “my baby”, as being so small and fragile. Then I had my daughter and the thing that everyone told me would happen did.
I began to see how big my son had gotten and how “unfragile” he is.
Just yesterday I saw him walk into a stop sign pole, fall over and shake it off without even thinking about it. I stood there, supporting the wobbly head of my newborn daughter and thought, he’s huge and so independent. Then I took him to the playground…
There are multiple playgrounds in Shelburne village, where we live. There’s one that’s meant for very young children, located behind a preschool. Then there’s the one for the “high rollers”, the “risk takers”, the kids who throw caution to the wind and can actually flip over the monkey bars, the playground behind the elementary school.
I hadn’t brought Henry there since we moved to the village in August. When we went school wasn’t in session yet and it resembled something from “Children of Men” (if you haven’t seen this movie and want to be utterly depressed, give it a whirl). It was completely abandoned. But today… today was a different story. Today there were kids everywhere.
I had brought him around four o’clock thinking, school’s out, there probably will be a few stragglers but nothing to write home about. How wrong I was. The place was teaming with six to ten year olds all yelling at the top of their lungs, climbing and jumping and being huge.
Suddenly without warning my “huge” son was once again little.
I hear children calling him a “baby” and see him struggle to keep up with the chaotic fast pace cacophony around him. He’s asking to try slides with enormous drop offs at the bottom. No problem for the six year olds, but to me that one and a half foot drop looks like the Grand Canyon. He’s miles away from being able to reach the monkey bars and even further away from being able to join in the kick ball game going on in the field beside us.
I hear the conversations of six to ten year olds. I hear them daring each other to jump off platforms and dangle upside down on bars millions of feet off the ground. Henry doesn’t even know what a “dare” is.
I even hear one little girl say:
“You’re only saying you don’t feel like jumping because you’re afraid to.” Get this kid a psychiatrist couch. “Are you afraid you’re going to break a bone?” The little boy looking over the edge of the platform remains silent, clearly weighing his options. “Broken bones aren’t anything. You just get crutches and a cast.” In a few minutes, this same little girl with get a centimeter cut her hands from the monkey bars and goes screaming to the nearest teacher.
Magic isn’t real. That’s what we’re told when we become adults. We’re also told that once our children are grown, they will never be small again. But I can tell you for a fact that I saw a child go from being a giant back to being three feet tall in front of my very eyes without the use of smoke and mirrors. I also saw my great big independent boy turn back into my baby again.