Marilee goes to the doctor's every four weeks and they chart her growth as the pounds rack up. She laughs out loud now. She holds on to me when I pick her up.
William's 2T pants are getting snug around the waist. He has begun to be able to pronounce "l." He now can count to 20.
Penny now tells me what she wants to bring to show and tell this week, and she scampers over the rocks on the beach down the road, and she walks herself next door to my grandmother's and she is slowly but surely learning to read.
Growth comes differently as an adult. It's no longer the growth of a sapling, where new inches can be measured and new limbs emerge. It's like a tree that's been around for a while, whose roots have inched imperceptibly deeper into the soil, who can weather a heartier storm this year than last, who can find nourishment even when the ground remains dry.This year has been a year of growth. We moved to Connecticut last June, and being in a new town with new friends and new patterns has forced Peter and me to learn about ourselves. We never knew he was an extrovert, for instance, but living on a lonely stretch of road near the water has brought out his need to interact with dozens of people any given day. We never knew how often I forget to say "thank you" until we had a big yard to take care of and I consistently neglected expressing my gratitude for Peter's work in it. We worship in a new church, a church with an emphasis on healing prayer, which has stretched us to ask questions about what we believe and what it means to have faith. And of course, we had a new baby this year, prompting yet another round of growth in sacrificial love. It's a little easier this time to give of myself for Marilee's needs. I'm a little more used to the rhythm of nursing and napping and playing with her. I'm a little more willing to let other things wait or let them go altogether.
I used to think that I would reach a certain age and I'd be done growing up. It seemed a little sad, but it also seemed like a relief to be done with the strain of learning new things and stretching myself in new ways. But in the midst of the discomfort of growth comes the delight of learning something new, of becoming someone who is more fully alive. I hope I am still growing up for the rest of my life.