Sometimes I wish I could be a fly on the wall and observe William when he's not with me. I always wonder how other people see him, how he really acts when I'm not in his presence. I know him so very well--but only in relation to me. He's my son, and I adore him. But what is he like as a friend? A student? Even a grandchild? I can never really know for sure.
So when I get a small insight into William Without Mommy, I always get a small thrill. The latest came when I saw the new bulletin board for his class at school. The teachers had asked each child what they were thankful for, then transcribed the answers onto a piece of paper. The children then colored on the papers, and the teachers hung them up in honor of Thanksgiving.
William's paper reads, "I'm thankful for my books, and my mommy and daddy, and that's all."
I choked back giggles when I read this. First, because he listed his books right off. Mommy and Daddy don't come first; his books do. And the "that's all"--what's that about? When I picked him up a few minutes later, I asked him about the picture and asked if he wasn't thankful for anything or anyone else. He thought for a moment or two, then added, "My toys and my books." And with some subtle reminding/prompting, he also added his grandmothers, grandfathers and uncles to (verbal) list. (Amazingly, he did not say "food" or "fruit treats" or "lollipops." He must not have thought about that angle. One of the other children in his class did, though: she added "my lunch" to her list.)
It's so funny to think that this bright little person with all these funny ideas used to be a tiny little helpless blob of a baby. Every day, he grows farther and farther away from that tiny baby and grows into his own person. It still sometimes amazes me. There was a time when I really thought of him as an extension of myself, but those days are long past. In case I ever forget that, though, I am reminded when he says something new or unexpected. And that happens just about every day. He still repeats some things that we say, but often, he comes up with things all on his own. William's mind seems to be whirring along at warp speed all the time. I can barely keep up with him. I don't know: if I were an expert in early childhood development, would it still seem as amazing the way his mind is developing?
So I just try to write as much of it down, so I can remember and marvel again later.