My son is six years old.
And I'm better than him at... well, everything.
'Cause he's six.
And I'm a grown-up. A really freakin' responsible one, and I have an extensive skill-set, including reading big words and following detailed instructions.
So when I bought Cole his first Origami book, I knew I'd have to sit down and help him muddle his way through it. We set up camp at the dining room table and he picked out the swan he wanted to make and I helped him line up the edges, make sharp creases and read the step-by-step instructions. A few times, he wanted to take over. He wanted to take the swan and do it himself. This just led to more frustration and me trying to convince him that what the instructions were trying to say was different from how he was interpreting them. It was an inefficient way to build a swan, with two captains at the helm.
At one point, I got a bit muddled up though. I wasn't sure how to "squash fold" the neck and the beak. The pictures weren't terribly descriptive. I was holding the swan and making squinty brows at the book and Cole kept trying to take over.
"I think I know what to do!" he kept saying.
I tried a few things without success then FINALLY handed over the bird when I really felt like saying, Of course you don't know how to do this. I will figure it out and I will let you know how it goes. I am a bit smarter at this because I have so much experience. But I will humour you....
And, he turned the paper a few different ways, folded something inside out and all of the sudden, the swan had a beak.
I was dumbfounded.
I turned my head and he turned his and our noses were six inches apart and he grinned at me.
I felt like I was looking at someone completely new to me.
Someone who is better than me at .... stuff.
I had been slightly outranked.
For the first, but not the last time.
Don't get me wrong, on the whole, I am still better at Origami than he is. But it was a moment of awe when I had to be humbled by some innate gift for manipulating things spatially in his mind. He could figure something out, with negligible help from the instructions and myself, because he had a skill that extended a bit beyond my own natural skill.
I could compensate for lack of this spatial manipulation and still be a useful part of society because my other grown-up skills, like following instructions, had compensated.
But still, I knew suddenly that my young man was not simply a vessel I'd been pouring my knowledge and life lessons into. He came with his own brilliant gifts.
And I KNOW that if you are not the mother of my six year old (which you are not), then you might just say that a six year old should age-appropriately be able to fold origami using the squash fold. Not rocket science. Not earth-shattering stuff here.
But as a mother you might know that it's different for your own children.
So much of what they do inspires wonder in you because you have simply known them for such a long time. You've known them since they could not even manage to support the weight of their own heads with their scrawny little newborn necks.
And now they can do stuff you can't.
It is glorious and humbling and nostalgic and exhilarating.
This thing called Parenthood.