Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Observing Instead of Seeing

I don't observe my children nearly enough. I see them all the time, but I rarely have the luxury to step back and observe them from a distance. I'm always surprised when I do, because they have grown and changed right under my nose.

Vacations or grandparent visits provide opportune observation moments. A couple weeks ago, I had both. Without my own tasks to accomplish, I could sit still and observe both kids as they played or explored the beach. I was shocked by what I saw with my eyes and documented with my camera.

They grew. And they are growing up.

My seven-year-old isn't soft and round anymore. She's all legs and angles. I watched her kneel at the water's edge with her legs folded beneath her and was struck by the graceful curve of her back. She's still my baby, but she's not a baby anymore.

Girl with Net - Flotsam of the Mind

I can see the teenager starting peek out from beneath my little boy. At age ten, he likely has a while before the real changes begin, but I caught glimpses. He's leaner and more muscular. He carries himself differently; even his posture has changed. I'd recognized through conversation that his tween years are here, but I didn't internalize it until I saw him on the beach. In his swim trunks and backward baseball cap, he looked both like himself and not. In a single moment, I saw both my curious little guy and the 18-year-old version of his father. It was disarming.

Boy Wading - Flotsam of the Mind

I don't miss the work of caring for little ones, and I love the interesting people my children are becoming. Of course they constantly grow and change. I only wish that I could observe those changes in smaller increments. Waiting and observing the large ones takes my breath away.

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