There was a chill in the air as Jack darted past me through the open front door. Our sweet neighbor kids from next door wanted to play with Amy. As I grabbed Daisy, our crazy golden retriever’s collar and simultaneously negotiated play time, Jack saw his opening.
In a split second he was gone.
The kids bounded in and I rushed out, around the corner of the house to the back, ominous headlines scrolling across my brain.
There he was. Short sleeves. Bare feet. Perched in the top of the play set, spinning the plastic wheel bolted into the red wood.
It is postcard beautiful here in New England these days. And it warms my heart that the kids want to be out, breathing in the crisp autumn air. Screaming, running full speed … spinning the wheel atop the play set.
But it’s also getting colder. I’ve already hit Lands End, buying the polar fleece pullovers and light jackets that will see the kids through fall.
I ran inside to quickly grab Jack’s new jacket. I grabbed his Crocs too and rushed back out.
Shoes first, I thought, so I reached up and placed them in front of his stubby feet. He grabbed them, grinned at me, and promptly tossed them over the railing to the ground.
I decided to just roll with it, so I handed him the jacket.
It was one of those moments I have lived over and over and over the last five years.
I handed him his jacket, but I knew that I would absolutely have to climb up and help him. (For some inherent reason, I always have to provide the opportunity for him to surprise me…. To succeed in doing something that I know he can’t do.)
Jack grabbed the jacket, promptly and appropriately rearranged it, put in his left arm, swung it around and groped for the right sleeve.
The kid made it look easy.
After years and years, exposure, exposure, exposure, repetition, repetition, repetition …
He made it look easy.
Progress. It’s immediately and completely intoxicating. The warmth of it overtook me, wrapping itself around me like cashmere.
I smiled. Jack smiled … and kept on spinning.