Spreading Their Wings


It’s been a while since I took the kids to the Mall. What with Alex’s school and Julianna’s school, we haven’t had the time. So this week, when we landed at Kidz Court, I couldn’t even concentrate on doing any writing—it was too mesmerizing to watch them play on the soft oversized sport-themed play equipment.

It was Nicholas’s first time at the play area since he became mobile. He cruised along the benches; he tried hard to repeat his newest skill at home—namely, climbing up on the first stair of anything and stranding himself there—but all the first levels were too tall for his chubby little legs.

For the first time…um, in her entire life, I think…Julianna responded to my instructions. She hovered, trembling with energy, at the entrance to the play area, poised to vault out into the Mall proper. “Julianna!” I said sternly. “Julianna Basi!” She looked over her shoulder and grinned at me. “Come here. Now.” And giggling, she came tearing over to give me a hug. She climbed the slide stairs and went down all on her own. Multiple times. And when she got confused how to get back to the top of the slide, I told her, “Go around the basketball, Julianna.” And she did it. (Remember what I said about the smallest victories being so big?)

And Alex worked up the nerve to jump from the tennis shoe to the soccer ball, one of which is taller than he is. Always before, he has asked for my help. To see him achieving a new level of independence is very gratifying.

Altogether, the hour at Kidz Court served as a reminder to me that at every moment, they are growing, even though sometimes they seem frozen at a helpless, needy stage. It’s a reminder I really needed.