One of my most favorite things in the world is to tell my mother good news. It’s not the news itself–and by news, I mean an achievement, like a promotion, or great new job–that is the awesome part, it’s Mom’s reaction to the news that gets me every. single. time. It goes a little something like this: You call Mom. Mom answers the phone. You tell Mom the good news. Mom bursts into an immediate, all-out laugh-slash-whoop: Wha-ha-HOO! It’s loud and instinctual and one of the most genuinely happy sounds I have ever heard in my life. Seriously, you have to hear it sometimes. One of the ways I knew she really loved David was when he told her some news one time and got the same reaction.
It’s one of the best sounds in the world.
In the last three weeks, eleven-month-old Cian Xavier has broken his first four teeth. He is crawling around and up and over and into anything he can get his four limbs wedged into: the storage drawer beneath the oven. The cabinet where I keep the pots and pans. The dog’s bowl. The baby gate. He’s starting to pull himself up. He’s finally eating table foods and thinks quinoa (He’s pretty much the only one…) and apples are the best foods on the planet. He’s a whirlwind of growing.
Quinlan Grace one day became an artist. She sits, hunched over paper with a crayon in her little hands, and presents this, this art to me. “This is for you, Mommy!” she says, and I want to open a framing shop then and there. She wants to help me cook. Gone is the shy little girl who cowers off to the side, and all I see now is a tall, willowy little girl who will talk your ear off–hands flying everywhere–if you give her a glance. That child is a delight.
Saoirse Kate is reading. She can count to ten in French. She loves computer class and books about dolphins and race cars. She feeds the animals and sweeps up any spilled crumbs. She showers by herself and coordinates a necklace with her headbands. We have long conversations one day, and she is quiet and contemplative the next. She is capable.
I get it now, my mom’s enthusiasm. I always thought it was sweet that she was so proud, but it’s not just that. Kids can’t make a parent happy, but one of the happiest things about being a parent is watching your kid flourish. I see Saoirse sounding out a word and over until she figures out its pronunciation. I see Quinn volunteer to lead grace before dinner. I see Cian quiet down and concentrate until he puts that block into that one particular space. It’s not mere pride–it just absolute wonder to watch your child learning, and growing, and, in a nutshell, manifesting those neat idiosyncrasies that make them who they are. And when they do it well? When they succeed? Well.