One of my favorite things about being a parent is those sterling moments when I suddenly realize that one of the kids has gone beyond me and done something of their own accord that I didn’t prompt or of which I’m not even capable.

[Emily->]’s artwork has been one of those things for me for a number of years. She does terrific work, and will often get an idea in her head, disappear into her room for six hours, and emerge with a finished piece. Her skills long ago surpassed Kathy’s and mine, and it has been a pleasure to watch her mature as an artist and to have the chance to learn from her and to enjoy her accomplishments.

[Abigail->] has become quite a reading buff, and I’ve delighted in swapping books with her and getting to enjoy some good stuff that I otherwise would never have stumbled across. Her French Horn playing has also been improving steadily as a fairly direct result of her discipline in practice (something I’ve never been as diligent about as I should be), earning her second chair in her school band. And while Maggie at age 8 is still coming into her own abilities and interests, her impish and playful personality is already very apparent, and promises a lot of hilarity and joy as she matures.

Recently, it was especially delightful to me that, when [Kathy->] and I returned from our day-long date to celebrate her birthday on the 16th, [Liam->] slipped into our room and handed Kathy two sets of earrings from his school teacher (who makes them) which he had purchased without any help or prompting from me — the first time I’ve seen him take that kind of initiative with gift-giving. I was extraordinarily proud of the maturity and selflessness he showed by doing so.

It is a pleasure and a privilege to see all of these children turning into very interesting, utterly distinct people. I’m tremendously blessed by the opportunity to be a part of that process.