I’m not sure when it hit me. I suppose it had been building from the moment we decided to go. Tonight would be one of our first walks in many months, since before the winter cold had crept in and we hibernated indoors. Now we were getting out to enjoy the last few moments of a 60 degree day before the sun in an overcast sky completely set. And setting out on our journey began in the most ordinary way.
Pax sat on the back step waiting. His shoes were next to him but he can’t put them on by himself. Ella stood by the door, shoes and coat on, as she grabbed her sunglasses.
Once out the door, my little girl was almost immediately sitting on her Barbie-esque Big Wheel by the gate, ready to go. Pax wanted to walk, but I insisted on bringing the wagon to avoid having to carry him after he changes his mind like he has so many times before when we went on walks last year. But, seeing me pull the wagon made him want to do it. Off we went.
Hitting our stride on the sidewalk, I noticed how far away Ella was riding and it made me kind of nervous. She was racing ahead shouting, “I’m winning!” forcing me to watch her from a distance. It took me by surprise and I called to her to wait. I think that was one of the moments I began to realize that her proximity to me on this walk was symbolic of the changes in our relationship and how much she has grown. Still, I have to guide her when to stop, what to do at intersections, and which way to go to get home. She’s not on her own yet!
Then my attention turned toward Pax who was right by my side, not holding my hand but walking slower since he was pulling a wagon with all his little boy might. I’d offer my help, but high pitched “let me do it”s and tiny amounts of force applied to my leg by his free hand kept me at bay, even when the wheels came up against giant pieces of uneven concrete. He has emerged from these cold months as a steadfastly independent boy pulling the very device meant to carry him. He pulled it almost the whole way, as if to further prove his manhood.
Just another ordinary moment that made me reflect on how they are growing and to remind myself that I too must change and adapt how I am a dad whether they are next to me pulling their own load or racing ahead.
Have you had any moments like this?