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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Growing Up

Today as I was riding my bike home from class I saw little bunny rabbit. I thought to myself, "There's Bunny," and made a little satisfied "Hmm" sound. And then I felt just a little bit sad.

Goodnight Moon was one of Maxine's favorite books. She still likes it from time to time, but it's no longer a favorite. One way we would read it was for her to point at different things in the room, and I would name them. If you are not familiar with Goodnight Moon, it's basically about a young bunny saying goodnight to all the stuff in his great, green room, which includes, but is not limited to, a red balloon, a light, a comb, a brush and a bowl full of mush, and a bunch of other stuff. Maxine would kind of obsess about the fireplace and the tools with it, even though the little bunny never said goodnight to them, or in any way admitted that they were present.

When Maxine pointed to the bunny, I would say, "There's Bunny," or "That's Bunny." And Maxine would give a little chuckle through her pacifier (because it was usually a bed time book, and the pacifier is only for bed time). She didn't laugh or make noises about other things in the great green room. I suspect that the connection had to do with one of her toys; a Beanie Baby rabbit, which we called (you guessed it) Bunny. There's no way to verify it, but I think she was very amused that her Bunny was also in her book. And it was funny enough to provoke a response.

I was getting the Bunny laugh up until February, when it started to peter out. By the time we got to America, it was no longer amusing. And I miss that little pacifier-muted chuckle. It means that my little girl is growing and changing. Inevitable as that is, and although I am aware of it intellectually, it is something else to experience it. It's a reminder that most, if not all of her current behaviors will be gradually replaced by new ones. I am sure that some of them will gradually accrue as the core of her personality, like reading books, giving Mommy and Daddy hugs and kisses, and saying "no" all the time. But the actual day-to-day actions will, for the most part, will fade into the past.

It puts me in a slightly melancholy mood, while at the same time it fills my heart with joy. Maxine is less than two years old, and it's already hard for me to hold a complete mental picture of her entire life in my mind. When I think about God knowing how many hairs are on my head, I figure it means something more like this: having a complete mental picture of my entire life, from conception to death. Maxine is the first person I have ever wanted to know like that. I love Horyon so much, but exploring each other is part of that relationship. I love my parents, too, but I still want them to be more permanent than me, and beyond my comprehension in some way. (Blah. That's not exactly what I want to say, but it's as close as I'm going to get at this time of night.)

I want to know her entire life. I am truly blessed to have experienced it so far. As she gets older I know that my concept of Maxine will be less and less accurate. When she leaves home it will become even more so. I can't really know her completely now, and I never will be able to. And so I am trusting that God does have that mental picture of Maxine's life, and that God loves her even more than I do. God will remember the way she giggled when I named Bunny in Goodnight Moon, and God will remember all of the other details that I have forgotten, and will forget.


snookie's mommy said...

OK...I'm crying now. You captured exactly how I am feeling about Sammy right now too. I can completely relate to the pacifier giggle and seeing them make the connection between something they see in a book and a real toy or person they can hold. It's exciting and sad at the same time when you realize how fast they are growing and learning.

Aubrey said...

Hello my dearly missed friend. I came on your blog today for a little feel-good reading, and I get this (beautifully written) heart wrencher! Oh no!

Rob, you are a wonderful man and I'm so glad to stay connected... even if it is so seldomly. I'm getting internet in my apartment soon, so I'm looking forward to keeping in touch more.

Say hi to Horyon and Maxine for me!

Your bud,

Jon said...

Good post, Rob.

A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.