Thursday, August 2, 2012


I just got Lily to sleep, finally.  This is her first night in her very own room, in her very own "big girl bed". (Well, her crib with the rails taken off.)  She may not be quite ready for so many big changes. She had a hard time falling asleep. A hard time knowing that it was time to stop opening drawers and playing with her dolls. But, it's summer and I have the time it takes to paint, put furniture together and relocate toys and dolls and clothes, so it had to be done.  Sometimes we are just not quite ready for the big changes in our lives, but those changes happen anyway.

As I watched her fall asleep, looking so "grown up",  I found myself imagining glimpses of her at older ages... her as a taller, thinner 4 year old, her as a pouty teen, her as an exhausted young mother, falling asleep face down on her pillow.  Sometimes it's as if all the ages of herself are already there, locked inside her. Perhaps because she has already seen so much of the world, perhaps because she looks so much like her older siblings and birth family, perhaps because she has such a Personality.

But I think we can see glimpses in all children.  Sometimes I look at my students and for a moment I see them as adults... the cop, the doctor, the business woman, the professor. (I love to dream that my working class/immigrant students will attain those positions.)  Sometimes I can see glimpses of a darker nature... who might be the one arguing with the cop, or needing treatment from a doctor.

In my son's face, I can see two glimpses. In his smiling, running face I can see a young man, powerful, joyful to be learning to drive, handsome and proud to show off his muscles to girlfriends.  My son so longs to be grown up. He constantly asks at what age he can drive, at what age he can buy a motorcycle (never!)... I plead with him not to rush his already (in my experience) shortened childhood, but he would jump through time.

The other glimpse I see is when he is angry or frustrated and his face sets into a stubborn scowl, and I see him as many others would, and perhaps will; an angry black man, a menace. Will he learn to soothe that scowl, to show that he is not dangerous or threatening, even when angry and frustrated?  Will the scowl remain on his heart, shortening his temper and his vision?

When my children first came home, their very different personalities quickly emerged.  I used to explain to friends just meeting them that Daniel looks tough on the outside, but is in fact very sweet.  Lily looks very sweet, but is tough as nails.  Slowly their inner selves are being to match their outer ones.  Lily has some tough looks, and Daniel's young sweetness is growing up... into what, I'm not sure yet.

Tonight my children are sleeping in their very own rooms. The crib is dismantled, the high chair is on its way out the door.  This weekend we'll be buying big boy bunk beds.

I am totally not ready for this change.

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