Letting Go To Be Little, Letting Go To Be Big

two cent bridge waterville
two cent bridge waterville

Look! See that gold glinting from the water into your eye?! That is the sign that the fairies of spring are arriving - one has already touched the water! When you see the reflection of the sun in a puddle where ice once was, it means a Fairy of Spring was there.

"Wow! How ass-iting!" [He meant, "How exciting."]

A couple Sundays ago, it was warm (well, by Maine standards...in the 30's). C insisted on wearing his Noah's ark short jon-jons with his snow boots to church, and I let him. At church, he busily stacked up no fewer than 6 hymnals on the pew. As he worked, he was getting more giddy. I looked around. All the other children his age (and younger!) were calmly sitting in their parents' laps, without any other entertainment, no less! Are our children the only ones who act like circus animals at church? It's been this way since the beginning. And it's not for lack of trying or inconsistency. From the time C was just a baby, he was squirmy and screamy and roly poly and loud, pulling on my hair, and forget jewelry. Meanwhile, other babies would spend almost the entire service looking around from their car seats, just chewing on things. What the heck?!

I was starting to get a little annoyed. Instead of focusing on worship, I now had to make a decision - do I just let him play? Is he being disruptive enough to stop him? He's not making a scene. What should the expectation be for a 3-year-old, anyway? How many more songs until they release the kids to toddler church? Are there any Goldfish from yesterday in my rolled-up sleeve that I can bribe him with?

Then he climbed up on his tower.

He made it so that he would be high enough to sneak his arm around me and kiss me. Over and over again. And then lean his head on my shoulder for the rest of the singing.

Today he did the same thing. This time I just let him. And I didn't even look around.

Sometimes you have to let them go to be little. And sometimes you have to let them go to be big. And in both cases, a part of who you think you are goes with them.

You let them be little, you let go of expectations. You let them be big, you let go of the fulfillment of being needed.

Later, we had to drop off the Babar DVD at the library, even though I swore up and down we'd never borrow another library DVD because they end up costing me $10 or more in late fees.

We weren't with G because I'd taken just C to a birthday party while Geoff stayed home with her for her nap.

"You can go drop the DVD in the box all by yourself." "I can?" "Yep. Go all the way up there and drop it in the box, but don't go inside. I'll be right here. In the car. No, outside on the sidewalk. No, I'll be..."

And he was gone, walking down the sidewalk with his little DBD, as he calls them.

"I'll be right here leaning against the, I'll be right here standing by the trunk, by the car, by the, by the right here, OK. OK. I'm OK. Oh no, don't go that way! Snow is blocking your way - Go up the ramp, honey, Look up! Look, right there -- there you go. Go on! Up the ramp!"

We'd put things in the box together dozens of times, so I knew he could reach it and knew right where it was. I had a flashback to 8 months ago, when we were putting books in the drop slot at Himmel Park Library in Tucson, and a puppet popped through and "ate" the books for us, while Gracy slept in the wrap on my chest. Now he could do it without my help. I also didn't notice any smokers or creepers hanging around the library door as we drove by, so I said it was OK. I was parked just outside the building so that I could see him all the way up the handicap ramp, but then he'd have to go behind a wall where I couldn't see him for about 15 feet to the dropbox. A bold, tenuous step.

Like walking on ice. Well, thick ice. But still.

It is so quiet in our small town that I could hear the uneven crunch crunch of his little boots all the way up the sunny corridor, and around the corner. But then the sound disappeared. I impulsively looked down at my feet the way I do whenever I feel exposed. And I noticed a Fairy of Spring had visited the ground where I stood. I saw a mop of blonde hair, my coat, and my dirty Bean boots. It reminded me of a picture I drew of myself in my college journal to Geoff:

me, 10 years ago in college
me, 10 years ago in college

In those 20 seconds of silence before I heard C again, I realized when he is gone I'll have plenty of time for self-reflection. And when I do, it will be stripped of most of the expectations I had for how life with him would be, and stripped of the idea that he depends on me. But today, it was just for 20 seconds, if that, and then he came running down the ramp with his wonky toddler run and his freckle-faced grin, and jumped in my arms and said, "I did it, Mommy! I did it all by myself!"