The other night at bedtime I noticed a small splinter in Kale's foot and tried for a few minutes to get it out. Since he wasn't bothered by it I told him that we'd try again in the morning. But, having drawn attention to it he could no longer settle. He kept feeling the bottom of his foot to see if it was there, and finally sat up and said, "my just need to try this boo boo again". He pulled at it a little bit, scrunched up his face, tugged awhile at the jagged skin, then looked up and smiled, "yay, my got it out!".
He then snuggled into his bed once more, smooshing his face into his pillow. He was still and quiet for a minute or so and I thought maybe he'd fallen asleep. But then he looked up at me with those huge blue eyes beaming and said, "My didn't need you help." I nearly melted at the pride in his voice. He was so proud to not need me. I've been seeing it all over of course, the way his body hangs off of mine, legs dangling, when I hold him; the heft of his body, stocky in the way of two-year-olds; in the way he struts about so sure of who he is. But my god, in that moment he was just so glad for his independence. And of course I was both glad and heartbroken in that way that mothers are when we realize our babies are no longer babies.
He is so proud of all he can do. And (mostly) so are we.