Day before yesterday, after school, I got to watch the five-year-old put hand after hand on the overhead ladder and get himself from one side to the other.
It seemed like only days ago that he'd been struggling, worried about how to get from one rung to the next, how far down he would fall and how badly he'd be hurt if he did fall. Now he boldly traversed the ladder with me ten feet away, hearing "watch this, Daddy" and looking on, gapemouthed and amazed.
I remember having that feeling about ten years ago, out at the lakefront park in New Orleans, watching my daughter struggling the same way for weeks of her trying and dropping to the sand, sadly defeated for all her effort. Until one day, she swung herself to the next rung, stayed attached then did it again with a look of intense exhiliration in her face. She was incredibly proud of her victory, as was I, and she has excelled at gymnastics and physical education ever since.
There's one more child that I get to watch go through this in a handful of years. I love sharing their pride and excitement to cross the jungle gym.