One of the best things about parenting is getting to see our children’s “firsts.” The first smile, the first steps, the first time riding a bike. We watch in wonder as we see our kids hit these milestones and we celebrate each success. And if you’re like me, you may even get a little teary-eyed. Our kids look to us to see our reactions and we share in their excitement. These firsts open up new worlds to explore.
I’ve witnessed so many of these moments with my own kids, but I would have to say my most recent “first experience” will be at the top of my list of favorites! You see, a lot of firsts are developmental….things we know will happen or expect to happen. They follow somewhat of an order and are so sweet to see, but there’s some that are even sweeter. It’s the ones that are harder to come by. When your kids conquer things that were a struggle before, you feel a higher level of pride. This week my daughter had one of those “firsts.” She READ part of a book that she couldn’t read 4 months ago. But, hold on. Let me give you the back story.
Avery has the SWEETEST group of friends. They are fun, kind and loyal. They are each unique and have strengths and weaknesses that encourage one another to step out of comfort zones and try new things. I love them all dearly and love that Avery can explore new interests with them. Thanks to her friends, Avery recently became a Harry Potter fan. This was surprising to me because her brothers took zero interest in HP. After school one day, Avery asked to watch the first Harry Potter movie. Sure! We watched it, she loved it and immediately asked to watch the next one. A few days later she watched the second one without me. When it was over, we had this conversation:
Avery: That was so good and now I’m all caught up. Now I can talk to my friends about it and know what they are talking about.
Me: Oh, have they been watching the movies too?
Avery: No mom! They have read the books and I know I’ll NEVER be able to read those books so I wanted to watch the movies.
Me: (insert teary eyes and a big bear hug for my little girl)
Fast-forward to present-day…… Her goal since arriving at The Morris Center was inspired by our friend, Emma, who was finishing up at TMC when we arrived. Avery wanted to able to spell “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from the movie, “Mary Poppins,” just like Emma. Okay, cute. That will be great. But I, her mama, want her to also be able to READ the entire book. Well guess what? During Week 7, Avery SPELLED “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” I was impressed! That was fast. This small accomplishment led my girl to have even bigger ideas for future firsts. Avery soon asked me, “do you think I’ll be able to read Harry Potter when I leave here?” Umm…that book, with all the names and strange places, is a tough one for me to navigate reading, not to mention being able to comprehend the storyline. Not wanting to give her false expectations, but at the same time wanting to be encouraging, I said, “I’m sure you’ll be able to read anything you want to read eventually.” As quickly as it was considered, I pushed it aside and prayed for more attainable goals to be met.
Shame on me for doubting my girl and her abilities. She put me in my place. This past week, TMC had a film crew at the clinic, shooting promotional material to share this amazing place with others, searching for an answer. For one shot, they requested a book for Avery. Dr. Tim Conway, with a knowing look, gave her a Harry Potter book. I was behind the scenes watching and when I read the title, I flinched a little and asked in a whisper, “Avery can you even read that book?” She didn’t answer and the crew reassured me, explaining that they weren’t concerned with audio for this particular shot. But as the camera started rolling, I witnessed a “FIRST” for my girl. Without hesitation, she began reading from the third chapter of a Harry Potter book. I couldn’t hold back the tears that flooded my eyes as I watched in awe….my smart child doing something she thought (and me too) was impossible only four short months ago. She did it. When the film crew finished, she looked up from the book with a huge smile on her face, walked over to me and wrapped her arms around my waist. As I knelt down to kiss her head, she reached up and wiped away my tears. As we left the clinic, she turned to me and said, “Did that really just happen? Did I really just read that book? I can’t believe it.”
Believe it, baby girl! This is just a first of many.