watching them take off

We do not spend long, fraught evenings dissecting our children’s educational paths. We do encourage engagement with learning. We do spend some time wondering about the boys' budding character, wondering how we might help them take responsibility for their actions, wondering whether they'll get into the colleges of their dreams and whether we'll be able to pay. But mostly wondering whether we can possibly ever let them go.

The boys memorize periodic elements and state capitals and Pokemon characters and not the phonetic alphabet. They remember the fireplace in the Denver hotel suite and the specific granola snack we had once at COSI and the names of the tenth planet and the eighth continent and the new toy that so-and-so opened at his birthday party two years ago.
And we are humbled and challenged and exhausted and inspired.
Tuck is eight and a half, a third grader now. He’s a marvelous young man -- eager, curious, affectionate, funny and full of empathy. He’s most interested in Minecraft and coding, prehistoric man, his own music playlist, the piano and infinite numbers. He asks curly questions like, Going back from zero, what’s the very first number? and Are apes still actually becoming humans? He wants to make an engine and to invent all sorts of things; he collects pieces for projects in his ever-dirty pockets and talks earnestly about multipotentialities. He regularly has his nose in a book. He is a confident swimmer, a kind friend and an almost endlessly patient older brother. The only thing bigger than Tucker's sense of humor is his heart.
Tollie is nearly six wonderful years old. He’s an incredible character -- determined, thoughtful, exuberant and opinionated. He’s a bit of a chameleon, soft and strong, loud and quiet, confident and not quite sure. He is this or that, himself or someone else. He dresses up in costume and has us all in giggles. He loves bedtimes stories and our special X Marks the Spot back scratch routine.  He adores Hank, and manhandles him as much as Hank can stand. He is also astoundingly thoughtful, sharing special things like arrowheads and favorite mini figures with cousins. At the moment, Tols is mostly into Legos and the high dive and this one specific dance move that he's been asked only to do at home. He is full of wonder and opinions and plans.  He has six new best friends, and pizza is the circle of his life.
We spend very little time worried about the boys falling behind and hold more concern over trying to help them press ahead in the right direction. We drag them to the food pantry and walk to advance brain tumor research and make them write thank you notes. We encourage them to save money and force them to do chores and take them on big adventures, but mostly we try to address learning in the tiny nooks and crannies -- hiking along the riverbed we stumble across new words, listening to the radio we discuss with candor most current events. In the kitchen we do mental math, doubling measurements for zucchini muffins, and in the back yard we shoot baskets and bust open rocks and observe humming bird habits and gaze at the shadows of the eclipse.
We hug the boys tight and kiss them hard and gradually let go of the back of the proverbial bike.
We smile, watching them take off.

1 comment:

Kristy Grachek said...

Beautiful. Keep writing.