Tonight at dinner I looked across at my three munchkins and was shocked by how big and grown up they have suddenly become.
Elora turned four last month. She started preschool this year and is loving it, with only a couple of clingy days in the first week. She has her little group of friends, loves to go to music and the library and has such an incredible understanding of everything that goes on. She is observant and a little bit bossy, a little "mother" at times. Nearly as tall as her next brother. Smart, funny and gorgeous as all hell. I know we will be fighting off the boys when she is older. Or maybe her brothers will do that. In any case, it has already begun. The other day when I dropped her off she was almost immediately surrounded by three little blonde boys and yesterday she informed us that Matthew is her boyfriend.
Atti turned six at the end of January and is now a big Year One kid, loving school (with a terrific teacher once more). He is reading everything in sight and asking for more challenging maths problems. Our boy with hidden talents is coming out of his shell, academically speaking.
And that ten year old I mentioned earlier. Dante. He's only half a head shorter than me. Working hard this year with the prospect of high school looming not too far off in the future. Struggling with his emotions, causing me to struggle with mine (especially my patience, wearing thin lately). He talks and thinks like a typical teenager, to a certain extent. Or perhaps he just talks back. At times he causes me unbearable pain, somewhat like he did all those years ago in that labour room with the wood panelling and the hospital bed. (Room number 8, I recall. Lucky in Chinese.) At times, in all honesty, I just want to send him away to boarding school.
And yet at other times, I am bursting with pride at how clever he can be. Mature, gentle and calm. Patient, caring and helpful. Not always at home around me, but at school and around others. I want the world for that boy. I want him to succeed and be happy and everything a parent wants for their child. I want it more than anything because of his potential. I don't want him to waste his talents. Am I projecting my own regrets into him? Of course. Because I have the benefit of hindsight. I just hope that he'll appreciate it one day.