Our 3 year old shot up three quarters of an inch in the last month, and has outgrown his pajamas, again. He’s 3’3″. The 6 year old hit 4’1″ and outgrew her car seat, so we took off the back and now it’s just a booster. It’s blindingly fast the way this flotilla of kid stuff becomes utterly obsolete.

The lonely car seat back, headed to storage or donation, makes me think of many things, but what I can’t shake today is that every little item shed is practice for us, for the day we, or rather the roles we play, will no longer be needed.¬†Already reading has turned to co-reading and listening, and a thousand other small adjustments. Talking to a friend about his sadness at the empty-nest left by his beloved niece reminds me that these little steps lead, tentatively and imperceptibly, toward independence and adulthood. Why are the most basic truths the ones I fight most against?

For now we’ve got some job security. Yes, our first grader is rapidly getting used to her new class and schedule, and is having her own ideas about what to wear and what’s next in hairstyles. (This week: boy’s silky sports shorts are in, if she had 5 pair she’d wear them every single day. Can she have 5 pair, please? And she wants to grow her hair long long long.)

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But if her favorite color’s still blue and her favorite activity Tetherball, I can feel a world of change in the air, coming our way. One by one the little totems of childhood get outgrown, and that’s the way it should be. It just breaks my heart a little, in a lovely, sweet way, like this sunny day, where you can feel in the wind and slight blue of the air the approach of Fall.