I have a tradition around these parts. Each year, on their birthday, I write a little post in tribute to my kids. While I didn’t begin it when they were first-born (the Blog having not been conceived at that point), I did start somewhere around Colin’s 5th and Aria’s 3rd and I’ve kept it going strong ever since. The hope is that someday, in the far-flung future, they’ll dust off their iPad Nano 365 and scroll through this cool little digital scrapbook that was created with one mission in mind – to freeze time, if only for an instant, and keep them young in my heart.
For as they say – time flies, baby.
And now, with my little man turning nine – entering the last stretch where he can count his age without hitting double-digits – I’m staggered by how quickly it all went by. Face it, Colin is now closer to legally driving a car than he is to being born. How did that happen – and why didn’t I do anything about it? I’ve been saying for years that I need to somehow master the nuances of the space-time continuum and somehow seek the loophole that would let me slow it all down for a spell. Something went wrong in the recipe, for whatever I’ve done – the sands seem to be flowing through the hour-glass with breakneck speed. Maybe if I cancel all of my appointments, scrap all my plans and just sit and wait for water to boil – I can make it happen. But then – where would the fun be in that?
Time flies because Colin has made it a life worth enjoying.
And he’s made Andi and I so proud.
Many of you who know us, know his story and the social-emotional challenges he faced early on. I’ve written all about it before in my post, Picking Up the Pieces, but now – with all the major strides he’s taken – that seems so far away. A different time. Almost a different life.
One evening, just a few months back – as the kids were tucked in their beds and Andi and I enjoyed the quiet of a slumbering house, I voiced this growing observation.
“Have you noticed how independent Colin has become?”
I took the words right out of her mouth. While he had been maturing in small measures over a block of several months, it suddenly felt like overnight, new skills had blossomed. Where before, we would wait hand-and-foot on he and Aria – as many parents do for their kids when they are this young – suddenly Colin was taking on a variety of tasks all by himself. Before my feet hit the bottom landing most days, Colin has already fed the dog, noshed his breakfast, dressed himself and THESE DAYS made his own lunch and packed his backpack. And he seems delighted to do it all himself.
More importantly, his social skills have come in full-bloom.
Which is why phone calls like the one I received yesterday just fill this papa with such pride.
Yesterday afternoon, moments before I was due to dart out of the house and head out to our friend Scott and Gina’s wedding, the Caller ID announced Colin’s school was on the line. As a parent you always takes pause – hoping against hope that nobody has vomited something or broken anything.
This was one of those other calls you live for.
It was Colin’s teacher who wanted to share an awesome experience she enjoyed that afternoon. It turns out that over the last few months, Colin has been broadening his horizons – beginning to play with a wide variety of kids in his class. He’d always been partial to one friend in particular who he lived to see daily but lately he had been engaging others in play and they had been eager to join in.
Sensing his other friend was a little sad yesterday, their teacher pulled her aside and asked what was wrong. The girl explained that she and Colin were always so close but lately she noticed he had begun playing with others as well. She feared that he was growing away from her. So – the teacher explained that it was good for him to open up to others but suggested that they all have a little talk to make sure there were no hard feelings amongst any of them.
With the teacher introducing the conversation, she says Colin immediately sensed what was bothering his friend and stepped in to assuage any fears she might have. He told her that he thought he should start playing with other kids as well because he didn’t want them to feel left out – and the kids in turn were happy to play with him. At the same time, we assured her that they should all play together and most importantly, he told her that she will ALWAYS be his best friend. That filled her with heart with joy AND the teacher’s eyes with tears.
Me – I took a little from Column A and a little from Column B.
He’s come a long way in such short time. This is just one mile marker along his journey. As always, I look forward to charting his adventure every step of the way. Who knows where he’ll bring me next.
Happy 9th Birthday Colin Edward!!!