This is just to say…

“Where was I? O yes!”

Sunday at church was pretty typical, except that it wasn’t.

There was the Gabriel chasing—the barely catching him before he was halfway up the center aisle, heading for the priest at the altar.  There was the moment when all we could do was sit in a huddle on the pew, my arms wrapped tight around Jonah, my hand covering his eyes as he loudly whispered, “Harder, harder, harder, harder!” We made it to the homily, then surrendered ourselves to the freedom of the nursery.

I had brought a Toot and Puddle book for reading. Two pages in, Jonah proclaimed, “I need a paper and a pen for writing.” How did I not have a pen? I stealthily swiped one from behind the counter where they sell candles and J set up shop. In neat script, he copied the title of the book, then turned to his favorite page and transcribed “mope.” The end result read something like “toot puddle toot mope and am I was.”

So what’s the big deal? My kid copied some words from a book. That’s the big deal: my kid copied (legible) words from a book! On his own initiative. Gladly. With intense focus. And he was proud. He had me read back his work again and again. He was making his own story.

This is just to say…this has never happened before. Okay, so later John told me he had been doing something like this the week previous at John’s office. But this was the first time I was witness. Historically, Jonah could care less about writing. It’s been a non-preferred activity, even an avoid-at-all-costs activity. Maybe his rough patch, in part, has led to this. A small shift in interest. A jump in development. This happens to all kids, but with our sensitive J, the steps leading up to and proceeding from are more dramatic and pronounced—so finely have we tuned ourselves to his every step. I felt as proud as when he took his first steps. It was that big of a deal.

We returned to church. Gabriel tried several times to escape under the pew as Jonah lay on his stomach, face down, scooting himself along the length of the pew. Something of a caterpillar crawl as he pushed off with his feet, using his arms to inch forward. As we go.

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