Charting growth

A child's growth is measured by so many increments—first words, first steps, first foods. First day of school, first scrape on the knee. And along the way we're compelled to mark their height on doorways, window moldings, kitchen cabinets. When in early labor with my son I was stretching and looking out a french glass door at the gravel rock garden beyond. And I saw a tuft of pine tree—no more than three inches tall. I chose that door to chart his growth (two inches while off at sleep-away-camp this summer, five inches in the past five months!). The tree continues to grow (too close to the house), eclipsing him in height. I don't have the courage to move it, just like I'll never have the courage to wash those measurements from the wall. He'll have to do it someday—and perhaps he'll appreciate that his growth in that home was far more than physical. That he learned values to instill in his own children he'll measure in similar increments.

jane beck

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