Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Man's Reach Should Exceed His Grasp - pix added

Clapping with one hand open.
Just out of reach.....

Stopping to chat with a neighbor this morning as Micah and I took a stroll around the neighborhood, she asked the inevitable, "What's new?"

With a 9 1/2 month old, everything's new, every single day. Feet, for example, are endlessly fascinating, and every day we see a new type of kick or a new angle for Micah to study them. Hands, too, continue to be new and exciting. On Sunday, Micah had taught himself to clap his fists together; by Monday morning he was imitating a real clap with one hand open and the other still in a fist.

Each time Micah masters a new skill, we celebrate it, but immediately start fretting that he'll never reach the next one. It wasn't so long ago that we lay him on his back on his play mat, worrying that he just wasn't motivated to reach for the swinging toys. He's long since rushed from that stage to sitting up and reaching for them; and just this week, I noticed that he's no longer ignoring the toys that are out of his reach, but trying to puzzle out how to get ahold of them, despite not being fully mobile yet. He reaches forward to the limits of his arm length, not quite there, but trying over and over until he rocks himself forward a bit.

Ah, I realize, the poet was right. A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?

All human behavior is predicated on trying to obtain things that are very slightly (or maybe more than slightly) outside of our grasp. That's what motivates us to set our alarms for earlier than we'd like to wake up, to go to work when we'd rather play, to make outselves pretty.

And then I realize that Micah's been doing this all along, even when we think he's not really trying. While we've been worrying that he'll never crawl, he's actually been getting ready each morning, when we find him in his crib on his hands and knees, rocking back and forth; while we've been worrying that he'll never hold his own bottle or feed himself, he's been training us to know the cry that indicates he's hungry. Children come here with their little alien eyes and helpless little bodies, and yet they're the one's teaching us what it means to be human. Time for me to figure out what seems just beyond my reach and start trying to figure out how to get it.


  1. What a beautiful post Steph, and so accurate!! Someone commented to me recently that we're always in such a rush for our babies to achieve the next step, and therefore grow up, that we often forget to enjoy the here and now. I'm really really trying to remember that, but it's getting a tad difficult when hair pulling is now on the daily agenda. How on earth do you teach 8 month olds to share and/or be gentle?!?!

  2. Funny, I have always really been laid back about that. So long as the girls were healthy, there were no obvious issues, and the doctor wasn't worried, I figured they would develop normally. If they started something early, cool, if not, I knew they eventually would.

    I think my only rush right now is for them to learn how to talk so they can tell me what's wrong with them when they cry.

    Granny, on the other hand, is another story.

  3. Beautifully put, Steph, as always.

    Your post really hit home for me, because I was reading other people's blogs (who are still waiting for their babies to arrive), and I was thinking "...gosh, we're all so worried about our surrogates and unborn children, I hope things get better (i.e. less worrisome) when our babies finally arrive".

    But reading your blog I see that there is always something to be concerned about and fret over.

    How do we change this? Take up yoga, or start drinking, perhaps? lol.

    If you figure it out, please let me know. I guess awareness is the first step...


    ps - more pics pls!

  4. I hope you blow up that picture of him sleeping - just precious! Are you sure he isn't practicing a sign with the close fist clapping? It is amazing how they grow and what they learn, whether they are 8 mo, 3 yr, 5 yr, or 7 yr - and you grow with them too!

  5. And GREAT outfit in the second photo!!!

  6. I have a deep respect for you! Micah's is just beauiful.