This happens to mothers every so often. It has only happened to me once before, although I know it will again as my boys grow. I walked away from my then four year old last May to spend a month in Russia finalizing the adoption of his new little brother. I cannot put into words how my heart ached for my oldest son while I was away from him. I couldn't wait to hold him, to touch his hair, to feel his little body in my lap. My body and mind were tired from the long trip home with the tiny toddler strapped to my hip. My steps had slowed and my sleep deprived brain was getting a little fuzzy. But when we finally landed in Columbus Ohio my strength was renewed and my steps were a little lighter as I walked off the plane and into the arms of my oldest son. I remember sitting on a bench, crying, holding my four year old, with the poor tiny toddler smashed between us. And then I really looked at my boy.
His hair was more course. His head was bigger. His body was sturdier. He had changed dramatically in those four weeks I had missed. And last weekend it happened again.
We are hoping that our big five year old is accepted into the private christian school to which we have applied. Last Saturday we had to rush him straight from China school, where he had already spent two hours completing Mandarin and Martial Arts classes, to an hour and a half of kindergarten testing. While we waited for the test to be completed we chased the tiny toddler around the school and attended a parent orientation meeting. As I sat in that classroom listening to one of the kindergarten teachers talk about the first few weeks of school and expectations, it hit me. My baby was going to be in kindergarten next year. In just three short months he will get on a school bus, by himself, and go to school. He will have to remember his backpack and lunch box. He will not be able to take one of the "baby animals" he carries in to preschool every day. He will be buying milk, for God's sake!
Sunday we rushed straight from church to my big five year old's first flag football game of the season. He played last Fall for the first time and loved it. Football is definitely my little man's game.
|my little football star!|
Despite the lack of direction from the coach, my little football player let his talent shine through. He ran for 2 touchdowns and pulled 11 flags. He zigged and zagged and by the end of the game every parent on the sidelines was cheering for him. He was the standout MVP of the game. And I was so proud.
But what made my heart sing even more than the smile on his face when he ran the ball into the end zone was what I saw happening in between his turns to run the ball. My big five year old was doing more than scoring points for his team. He ran next to every other kid when it was their turn to run the ball. He attempted to block for them, even though the team had not yet been taught about blocking. He cheered them on, encouraging his new team mates to run that ball. He jumped up and down and clapped at the end of each play, touch down or not. He not only showed his amazing athletic skills but, perhaps more importantly, he showed his amazing compassion and sportsman like conduct. Watching my son run next to a team mate, cheering them on, brought tears to my eyes. He is growing up so fast.
Later, when I had a moment to sit still and really look at the photo I snapped before the game, (above), I was taken by how small my big five year old looks. Because out on that field I didn't see this little boy- I saw a glimpse of the man he will one day become.