Thursday, August 1, 2013

I Just Have a Kid



Independence is a sneaky thing. 

For so long you dote and mind, and watch oh-so-carefully, you hold hands and cut food into tiny pieces so tender mouths don't burn, you carry and lift, find and recover, read, build, dress and put away. 

And then one day...when you least expect it...you realize that don't really have to.

One day, when you sit still, reading your own book, sitting in your own room, by yourself, you listen...

And you hear...

Your child, in another room, perhaps on another floor of the house, reading their own book, making their own bed (albeit not very well...), turning on and setting up the TV to their own shows, brushing their own teeth...  Things that all crept up on you so gradually that you almost (*gasp!*) took them for granted, something you swore you'd never do, never be able to do.  Take things for granted

This morning I awoke before the child, who had earlier crept into my bed at the crack of dawn to curl up and fall back asleep, snuggled close to me.  Carefully, so as not to wake her, I crawled out of bed, went downstairs, made my coffee and a bowl of cereal, and sat on the couch to eat and watch the news on TV.  Hearing no footsteps upstairs, but knowing she could have come down and joined me if she'd wanted, I ate leisurely, then cleaned up, then returned upstairs to get her up and ready for summer school.  She was awake, sitting in my bed, under the covers, watching one of her shows on DVR, after having used the remote control to scroll through the myriad of options to find the program and episode she wanted. 

I pulled an outfit from her drawer that I thought would be cute today.  Tossing it at her, I said, "Hey, girlie, please get dressed then come downstairs for breakfast."  Her response?  "In a minute.  I'm busy watching TV..."  I reminded her of what I needed her to do, then went downstairs on my own, knowing...scratch that...hoping that she would come along shortly.  Dressed

And, fully dressed, she did.

After she ate her own breakfast that I set on the table in front of her, she returned upstairs, to the bathroom, where I had set out her toothbrush with a dab of toothpaste on it, and a washcloth.  While I went to my own room to get dressed for work, she used the toilet on her own, washed her own hands, brushed her own teeth, washed her own face, and, beaming, came to me for inspection.  Beautiful, I said, smiling back and kissing her lightly on the forehead.

It's not always seamless, not without its issues, setbacks and resistances, not perfect, but it's an incredible thing.  And it wasn't until this morning that I truly stopped to marvel at its mere existence in my life.  The independence.  The ability.  The ordinariness of the day-to-day. 

I don't have a kid with a disability.

I just have a kid

17 comments:

AdrienneSullivan said...

Beautiful post!!!! :)

Chromosomally Enhanced said...

Just a kid! So stink'n true...and to my dismay! I so want to keep Maddie in that need me box I alone have created! But I know all I have ever wanted was her to be autonomous from us...and yet it has come to soon! Miss Sami is a grown big girl! Way to go Mom! Smiles

wendy said...

Great post! Claire has made many advances this summer and I'm so thrilled, yet it seemed to just sneak up on me one day when I really noticed!!

Deborah said...

Love this!

Stephanie said...

Fabulous post! WTG, Sammi and Mom!

I can't wait until we get there too.

my family said...

it must be the age because WIlliam has hit some major turning points this summer and is sure to tell everyone he is a "big kids now" when ever we try to help with anything

Becca said...

I just LOVE this age, April!! Of course, I need to remember to be *patient* about things. Usually, when I'm with her, we have tight time constraints, so it's hard for me to not help, hard to step back a bit and let her try something. But it just gets better and better.

Mardra said...

So true. Lovely you took one real day to see and enjoy it. :)

Kerri Ames said...

Oh my gosh, this is so perfect. I find myself doing for Boo all the time, sometimes not giving her the chance to try on her own.
Thanks for the reminder.

Lisa said...

I was just thinking the same thing the other day when Cate turned on the tv, used the DVR and not only found Sophia the First but found the Lost Amulet episode she was talking about- when did my little girl turn in to a kid who could read the word Amulet?

DandG said...

Oh, that just melts my heart!

I'm still waiting for my TYPICAL TEENAGER to do all that consistently....

Jenny said...

I loved this!! Russell is only three, so I am still patiently waiting for the day where I can sit back and just watch as he goes about his daily routine. Reading something like this just makes me smile and feel hopeful that it will come one day soon :)

Cindy said...

SO true! That's exactly the way it happens... unexpectedly.

Rochelle said...

Love!

gabbygrace said...

This is so awesome- I can't wait for this day and feel so often it may never come- thanks for reminding me it's possible! :)

P said...

I'm still in shock mine is tall enough & I guess eager & willing to climb through the kiddy play place alone with siblings. Yippee!!! I do know as my youngest he will regardless of DS or not, be more independent than older siblings in MANY ways. Personality and I'm too old lol

P said...

It's all your teacher. Just kidding but see--inclusion must help with all that modeling of independence! Kinder kids striving to DO and DO ALONE.