Pushing open our gate, I am taken aback to see a strange man, back toward me, entering our house. Only when he turns around do I realize with a start that I am looking at my 12-year-old son, Marlon.
It seemed only yesterday that I brought him, a newborn, home from the hospital. Carrying him into our house, I marveled at how tiny he was, his mere 6.13-pound frame fitting perfectly in the crook of my arm.
A dozen years later Marlon is neither small nor slight. Nowadays he can lift me up effortlessly. And as he shoots up like the proverbial beanstalk on his second growth spurt, I am excitedly documenting his progress on our growth chart.
Time lines Handwritten horizontal lines and the dates they were penciled in appear along the chart’s length. Of course, my husband and I have only one line each to represent us. His is located at slightly over five feet eight inches, mine is at five inches or so. The rest belong to Marlon and his younger brother, Mark Justin, put in at various times over the years, especially on their birthdays.
My eldest and I had taken to guessing how long it would take before he overtook me. We would be back-to-back, standing sideways before the mirror, and at times it looked like he had done it. But measured against the chart…no, not just yet apparently. Then a few weeks short of his twelfth birthday, it happened: Son finally surpassed his mother.
Marlon whooped it up as, indeed, the chart showed he was already half an inch taller than me. I double-checked and the results were the same.
While I was happy for him, I was a bit sad too. Staring at the freshly inked line, I realized what other parents had told me was true: Kids grow up so fast you never really know where the years have gone. But the chart only tracks how tall they’ve grown; it does not reveal the stories behind those growing years: the panic over childhood health emergencies, the frantic search for a child who got lost and, happily, was found, the mediating over silly fights between best friends, the happy days of birthday parties and lazy nights of storytelling.
Click here to read more about how the author, Romelda, dealt with her child's sudden growth spurt.