I gave one of the girls a high five at the dinner table today. This happens often. And if you ever saw how chaotic our dinner time was, you would know that touchdown high fives are more than appropriate.
Gideon was watching and leaned towards me from his seat on his mother’s lap. “Uhh!” he called, and stuck out his hand. I gave him a high five too. He beamed with pride and quickly craned his neck back to look at his mother while he squealed.
I laughed and went on eating, but a moment later I heard another “Uhh!” I looked up and found he was reaching his palm at me again. I gave his hand another slap, a little more halfhearted this time. But it again made him giggle with glee.
“Lydia, can you please pass me the-”
“Uhh! Uhh!’ again he was reaching.
“Oh no. No, Gideon, things are difficult enough. I can’t just keep giving you high fives all through dinner.”
He smiled back at me, a ring of something dark around his mouth. His pudgy hands opened and closed once or twice. “UHH!” he repeated one last time, while I left him hanging. His smile melted and he pursed his lips. He twirled his hand and examined his palm for a few seconds. Then with a swing of his other arm, he brought his second hand around in a wide arc and firmly gave himself a high five.
It was at that moment that I realized my son no longer needed me. High fives were the last reason he kept me around, but now he knows that he can do it just as well on his own. He stared back at me then, arms still extended in front of him, and I saw it in his serious eyes. My son had become a man.