I watched them in their swings, Holden in the bucket one Brandon used to sit in, Brandon in the bigger one. I watched each time they passed each other: swish, swish. I was watching them grow older, second by second. If childhood was a play-by-play, so much of it would be mundane, monotonous.
It is exciting only to us who care about every nuance, each new word and phrase. Every new physical challenge they hurdle and every rite of passage they pass through. Too anyone but us, these are dull, boring moments. But to us, they are clues into who they are becoming, reminders of who they once were. Us parents invest everything we have into these little ones so we see things not as they are, but magnified.
Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.
Parents should have a warning like that, but different. Skinned knees and bumped heads are not as big of a deal as we’re making them out to be. Just because Brandon read “zoo” as “O-O-Z” doesn’t mean he’s dyslexic. We are closer to these situations than other people, so we make them into ordeals. Mountains out of molehills.
I didn’t think of any of that, though, as I watched them swing. I just thought about how one day we won’t even have a swing set anymore and how they’ll say, “those are for babies” and how I will have so much of that quiet time I’ve been wishing and hoping for. I will have too much of it and it will beat in my head like this endless drum the way the boys’ shrieking does now.
I thought about the other big swing in the basement, how we’ll have to pull it out soon. How Brandon is ready for a big boy bike. I thought about all the nexts. Then they got out of their babyish swings and took turns draping their bodies over the big swing. And I thought, my god, I really am watching them get bigger, second by second.