Feb 28, 2010

My Girls

Feb 8, 2010

Monkey Bar Triumph

Jack had a major accomplishment the other day. And I mean MAJOR. Let me preface this by saying that Jack isn't a dare-devil child. He doesn't leap without looking, he holds my hand to cross the street, and he doesn't like heights. He prefers things slow, to the ground, and under control. That's just been his temperament since the day he was born -- cautious.

Last year (Jack was 5) when we were at the park, he watched some kids swing across the monkey bars. I asked him if he wanted to try. "NO WAY!" was his emphatic reply. OK. For the next few months, whenever we're at the park he ignores the monkey bars.

Fast forward to this week. Jack saunters over to the monkey bars, and, much to my shock, he actually climbs the ladder. He reaches one hand up and puts it on the first bar while gripping the support pole with his other hand. Then he quickly takes his hand off the bar and gets down. I casually go over and stand next to him. He climbs back up and puts his hand up on the bar again. I explain to him that his other hand can go on the bar, too, when he's ready. With a nervous and anxious tone he says, "OK. Keep your hands around my waist." No problem. He puts both hands up and starts giggling and closing his eyes. I show him where he can put his other hand on the next bar. He reaches out, starts laughing, then looks panicked and says, "I'm SLIPPING!" So, I tell him he can drop if he wants. He drops and says, "I got to one bar!" I can sense his confidence rising.

He goes back to the ladder and tries it again. I stand near and watch -- just offering a reassuring presence. He makes it to the second bar and drops. My insides are swelling with joy for him. He goes back and climbs the ladder and takes a deep breath. He reaches out and swings to the THIRD bar and drops. He says, "Mommy, I made it to the third bar! I only have (pause while he counts from three to eight...another unschooling math moment for the day) five more bars!" He continues, "We can't leave until I make it all the way across." I assure him, "OK, Jack, we won't leave until you make it across." He's giggling, and deep breathing, and nervous with each attempt.

He starts the from the beginning and this time he keeps his momentum going, pushing on and on. I can feel his determination in every hand he stretches out to the next bar. One, and then the next, and the next, getting closer, and closer, almost there, just a couple more, my excitement is welling, he reaches out and I can't contain myself, "Jack, you're almost there. You're doing it!" He laughs and keeps going, one last bar, and he kicks his feet to the platform and stands up. HE MADE IT ALL THE WAY ACROSS! He and I are overwhelmed with such an authentic enthusiasm and we jump up and down, laughing and yelling with elation! "You got across the monkey bars! You did it!" We're hugging and dancing and reveling in this awesome moment. I'm overcome with happiness and pride and tears of joy are welling in my eyes. I am so happy for my boy. I can see how fulfilled he is. He did it.

I know it seems trivial, but I am grateful that I got to be present during this twinkling of time. This moment will be etched in my memory forever.
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