We took the girls to a local provincial park this morning, sun sparkling on the water and watched them as they ran.
Tag! You’re It!! Leila gleefully cried as she whipped by Steve and I, fingers brushing my leg as she ran.
Tag!! It! Tag! Mommy!! Alena chimed in as she tried to keep up, sturdy legs moving as fast as they could, bum wiggling, arms swinging.
I watched them chase each other along the boardwalk and my heart exploded.
They’ve done nothing but exist, but grown and develop according to schedule. And yet, I can’t help but be ferociously proud of the both of them.
Alena talks so much now, each day more words come and she strings two or three together at a time. Like every other two year old in the world, she is learning to talk. She’s out of diapers, chubby bum cheeks filling out her pants just fine. Like every other person in this world, she’s learning how to control her bladder.
Leila recognizes most single digit numbers, and lots of letters. She does simple math. Like everyone else, she’s figuring it out. She doesn’t panic as much anymore, is no longer afraid of slides or getting her hands dirty. Today she scurried up a rope ladder without fear or hesitation. Like every other four year old, she’s turning into a child.
I watch them, sometimes amazed, sometimes tearful, sometimes impatiently. Always proud.
They are just like millions of other children. But? They aren’t. They’re my children. I am insanely proud of Alena, for both talking and potty training. Every time Leila points out a number or letter to me, my heart swells with pride. Yesterday morning at the breakfast table, she slowly put down her spoon and sang “Alice the Camel.” I smiled from ear to ear for the entire time, standing in the kitchen watching her, laughing when she and Alena sang together, “Boom! Boom! Boom!”
They are just like millions of other children in the way that we are all alike, but they are also unique in so many ways. Every game Leila plays, be it Doctor or Mommy or School or Store, she is the caregiver. She gently puts her arm around Alena’s shoulder to lead her into the next room, happily sticks a doll under her shirt and rubs her “belly” with a knowing smile. She is wise beyond her years. Alena follows, happily. Except when she doesn’t want to follow anymore, because she tires of that quickly. And so she takes over as doctor, or at least demands to be a helper instead of the patient. She stacks blocks higher than her sister, she climbs stairs faster than her sister, she does not fear like her sister. Perhaps this is because she has her sister.
And oh, they are best friends. This past week, we met with a lot of family that the girls didn’t remember. At one point, Alena climbed off Steve’s lap and over to Leila. The looked at each other, held hands and walked towards the other kids. Together. United.
They are like millions of others. But oh, they are so much different. They each posses a limitless depth of hidden beauty.
They each possess, in the joined grasp of their two hands, my entire heart.