Last night, Ezra came back out to the kitchen after I’d shut off all the lights. I wandered out with the expectation of growling at him for still being up, but instead I found myself watching quietly from the hallway kitchen entrance. As he normally does, he had already put out his cereal and cereal bowl for the next morning, but while I watched from behind him, he unpacked his lunch box as well. That’s new. There were some ‘salvageable’ crackers that he put out next to the lunch box, and he put the freezer packs, of all places, in the freezer! I didn’t ask him to do any of that. That’s all new. I want to say that he suddenly looked taller, but that’s actually not at all new. He’s a lot taller. Every day. And older. Every day. He would have been unpacking his lunch box every night a long time ago if I’d just thought to ask him to do so. He does lots of other things around the house for me. The lunch box is just something I never thought to ask his help with. That’s been my responsibility since he was a Kindergartner!
Sophie has shown lots of interest in cooking with me recently. Helping me cook, asking me how I cook her favorite things. I realized the other night while she was helping with dinner that she doesn’t slow me down anymore, in fact she’s a major help… It won’t be long before I’m in her way! Her latest ‘favorite sandwich’ is thin sliced turkey on sourdough bread, with a thick slice of mozzarella cheese, light mayonnaise on one side and heavy ranch on the other. The notable difference between this and other, prior, favorite sandwiches? This time, she got frustrated with me not quite doing it right and decided to do it herself. And now she does it herself every time, whenever she wants one, even this morning’s sammich for her school lunch. All by herself. No Daddy required. Similar to last night’s front row seat for Ezra’s growth, I stood there this morning weeping quietly inside with the realization that she’s a lot older than I wanted to admit. She hasn’t needed me to make her a sammich for a long time, I only recently got out of her way so she could do it herself.
I almost forgot my point, and let this turn into (yet another) ‘boo hoo they’re growing up too fast’ story! I know I write a lot of those. And I promise to write a lot more of them in coming years!
My point today, though, is that I noticed all of this. Sometimes it slips by quietly, and like in the two examples here, it hits me hard because it almost got by me. But it didn’t, and in general it doesn’t. I do notice. I notice when they do new things. I notice when they pass milestones in maturity. I notice when they notice that I pass milestones in maturity! And even though I do pay attention and I do notice their changes, sometimes things still get past me, even if only briefly. Everybody wins when you notice. Ezra feels good about himself when I tell him I’m proud of how he does helpful things all on his own. Sophie feels good about herself when I tell her how helpful she is, and how much I enjoy her help. I feel good about myself when I’m proud of my kids. And I noticed something good in a world where we aren’t exactly showered in positive things to take notice of.
Like noticing the beauty of a single rain drop during a thunderstorm maybe? In the end, all those drops of rain are indistinguishable from the flood that quickly passes. Just like all these single evenings will be swept together one day in an entire lifetime that passes in the blink of an eye. Time may stand still for no one, but everyone can enjoy it as it passes. Just don’t let it go by unnoticed.
Cheers from the ThreeFiveZero Notice