Chasing the Unseen

I know we’re entering a new phase in the Girl’s life: chasing. It’s not just that now, with her birthday last month, she’s in the double digits. There’s more to it than that. She’s not a tween, is she? Isn’t that eleven? Twelve? Yet there she was this afternoon, down on the hammock, talking to her male friend as he sat on the other hammock.

It’s not that I’m suggesting that they were discussing anything more mature than a ten- and eleven-year-old should discuss. She still says that boys are icky. (Hopefully that will last for another couple of years, when they can comfortably become iffy at best. Maybe a blossoming interest when she starts high school?) No, it’s not what topic they were chasing down; it’s that they were talking. They weren’t playing; they weren’t running; they weren’t being silly. They were sitting and talking.

The Boy doesn’t talk with his friends. They play. They play with an intensity that makes me envious, with an energy that makes me wonder if I ever had even a small portion of it. They’re talking consists only of what they’re playing.

“Pretend I’m a policeman…”

“Let’s go to the trampoline!”

If I had to bet what L and W were discussing, I’d say it’s probably Pokemon-related. That’s what they talk about most of the time. That’s their common interest. But still — talking, not playing.

We’ve started chasing her. She’s still a little girl, but that’s ending in the next couple of years. Given my shock when I look past entries from the “Time Machine” widget here on this silly site and think, “Dang, that was three years ago?!” I know that those two years will pass so quickly that I won’t even notice if I’m not careful. And then we will be chasing her. Chasing her growth. Chasing the unseen.

Later in the day, the Boy gives chase in a different way. Playing on the driveway, he crashes to the concrete as he’s chasing a ball. His palms hit with an audible slap, and I could feel the burn in my own palms.

But not a peep, only a little cry of panic as he saw the ball heading to the edge of the driveway, threatening to roll down the hill and into the creek that serves as the boundary between our backyard and that of our neighbors’ yards. He popped back up, scurried to the end of the drive only half a blink too late. Down the hill rolled the ball.

There was a time when he wouldn’t head down that far into the yard without an adult, just as L was at that early age. But today, he didn’t even hesitate, didn’t even look to see if an adult was anywhere around. He just slowed a bit to make it down the tricky part, chasing the ball with the certainty that he could catch it that only a four-year-old could hold.

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