Thursday, July 28, 2016

They Grow Up Before We're Ready

Jack will be 5 this fall, so he is hardly grown up, but part of the process of growing up is the reaching new milestones (him) and letting go (me). Some of those milestones are unexpected and catch me off guard.

I mean, I was sad to drop him off on his first day of preschool, but that experience was expected. I was prepared, even if it made me feel weepy. But a hot summer day at the carousel was not a time I expected to encounter a milestone. It threw me.

We arrived at Coolidge Park ready to take a spin on the old carousel and splash in the fountain. We walked up to the ticket counter to a sign that said "Cash Only" and I had a sinking feeling that I might not have cash with me. I checked my wallet as I remembered that I used my cash up to visit St. George Island in Florida...

I explained to Jack that we wouldn't be able to take a ride and he looked so heart broken that I checked my wallet again. I had exactly 7 quarters which meant one ticket to ride (it costs $1). I told Jack he could ride but that it would be alone since I didn't have enough for two tickets (and the attendant wasn't offering to let me step on with my boy).

Before climbing on to the merry-go-round, the attendant had Jack stand next to the height marker. He was exactly the right height. So he climbed up, looking both excited and a little anxious. Initially he sat in the sleigh, but I encouraged him to pick an animal to ride.

So up he climbed – on to a pig – while Isaac and I watched from the sidelines. Isaac desperately wanted to ride. Holding out his hands every time Jack spun past us. I had a lump in my throat while I watched. This was his first time to ride a carousel without me close by. It was not what I expected.

I'm both proud of him for being able to do it alone, but also a little sad that this is no longer something he needs me to do with him. Hopefully he will still want me to ride with him in the future.

On the way home he informed me that in the future he would remind me to make sure I had quarters. I told him that I couldn't have known that the credit card machine would be broken, and he said that he would just remind me to bring more quarters in case the machine was broken again. Then we discussed how many quarters make up a dollar and how many quarters would be needed for all of us to ride two times. Such is the life with a precocious preschooler.

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