Thursday, December 11, 2003

Little landmarks mean a lot

It's not the sort of milestone you'll find in a child development guide, but it feels like a landmark nonetheless: Today, for the first time, my son carried his own umbrella. He's 10, and no doubt long overdue for such a responsibility, but given his tendency toward impulsiveness and immature judgment, I've just never felt that giving him an item with which he could put someone's eye out, or at least get someone very wet, was a necessary risk. For years I walked him into the school building each morning and held the umbrella for the both of us on precipitative days; and when I started dropping him at the curb for the short walk down the driveway and through the school door, I'd just encourage him to move quickly during wet weather.

But this morning., I dug his sister's old Pokemon umbrella out of the closet, took him in the garage and showed him how to open and close it, and dropped him off for a sheltered walk beneath the raindrops. It may be a small thing, but it obviously made a big impression, judging by the look of jaunty pride he wore as he strode schoolward under the bright yellow face of Pikachu. And he managed not to maim anybody, or dawdle, or do a "Singing In the Rain" impression of any sort. Of course, one time he became so thrilled at carrying the thing that he had to hold it in front of him to get a better look, as rain doused his head. But then he put it back over himself, and as he disappeared through the school door I could see him closing it up. Such responsibility! The only drawback now is going to be getting him to leave his nifty new accessory home when the days are dry.

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