The door frame in the living room is marked with lines, some in pencil, some in ink (one I think is actually a booger,) measuring the children’s growth. When I walk by it, I can see how big they have gotten, compared to how small they used to be.
Physical growth is easy to measure. It sneaks up on you when shoes no longer fit and pants are too short, but that is easily remedied. You can google growth charts and weight charts and height/weight charts and even height prediction charts if you want to make sure your child’s physical growth is on par with his peers.
But spiritual growth and mental growth are more difficult to measure. There’s no scale in the bathroom or marks on the wall. I suppose we could count holes in the wall, but anyway….
Today was just one of those days when Me First surprised me.
Today was the last day of third grade. Halle-freakin’-lujah, we finally get a vacation with no homework! I was going through his backpack, the endless worksheets and tests and standardized test assessment (that he really should have given me when he brought it home instead of stuffing it inside a “robot-can” box,) and I found a letter from his teacher.
I won’t quote it here, but the gist was the teacher felt guilty about not being able to help Me First more when things with the other boys weren’t going well. (Which is, basically, like all the time.) Teach went on to say that in spite of that, and in spite of how hard it must have been, Me First was always kind to his classmates. And that shows strength of spirit, and that impressed him very much.
I don’t think I could get up every day and do what Me First has had to do. I just hope it gets better.
This evening, both kids had a karate test. For Me Too, it isn’t such a huge deal (she doesn’t goof off in class, unlike a certain someone else,) but Me First is at a higher level and to pass, he has to work hard. And he has worked hard. We have worked hard. Two of his friends from babyhood are in the same karate school, and it was almost surreal today to see the three of them, now at the higher level of the school, moving through their kata and kumite so confidently. I mean, this is the same boy who peed on the floor at the first karate class; that is the same boy who puked from nerves at the first test.
Afterward, we all went out to dinner. My friend, N, was saying it was so nice to see the kids just relaxing, laughing, and having a good time. And it WAS nice. Then Me First turns around, and asks his friend’s mom how things are going at work…. It was just such a grown-up thing to say, like an adult conversation, that we all started to laugh.
Of course, I’m the only one who knew he really wanted to ask her about the giant meat locker (she works at the grocery store.)
But by any measure, he’s grown a lot. If I had a doorframe in my heart, I’d make a mark there today.
But I would use a pen, not a booger.