On a recent Sunday, I went to visit my closest friend and her family. I hadn’t seen her children in a while, and was so excited to see her almost 5-year old. In just a few weeks, she seemed to have grown so much taller: like a plant trying to get more light. I said “Wow, you have grown so much!” She gave me an impish smile that implied I was being ridiculous to her, and said: “I grow every day.”
Duh! Of course she grows every day! Her simple truth made me ask myself if I was still growing every day. Clearly, I have been 5’2 (and 3/4") since about 1992 so I am not growing taller anymore. I change weight and size, which I suppose can be considered to be a type of growth. Yet the growth that I have seen her go through seems so much more significant because it is visible, audible, and tangible. Watching my own daughter grow seems monumental. With every new thing she learns, an accomplished milestone.
People often say that when you have kids, they grow so fast. I think it only seems that way because they are simple measures of our time. Their calendars of growth are markedly different from the calendars of our adult errands and events. In a month, children have acquired a new skill, a new sound or word, a new movement. So it makes me ask myself, “Am I still growing? If so, how?”
As I stroll under the budding branches of trees or walk along blooming tulip and daffodil gardens, the reflection of raindrops on their leaves gives me another perspective: The life that is springing forward right now is simply part of the cycle, and although the plants and trees don’t all necessarily get taller and bigger, they do keep growing. Growing, sleeping, evolving, being.
My father is sometimes in disbelief that I am an adult now. I think it’s because he's realizing that it’s not just that kids grow fast; time keeps moving for all of us even when you can’t see change. My daughter is now my measure of growth. How can I learn a new word? A new way of looking at an object? A new way of thinking? And although I make marks on a line to see how how much she has changed from month to month, the impressions I make on her life are the marks of my evolution. As I am the marks of my parent’s.
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