Recently, I taught Gabriel how to sing a round of Row, Row, Row Your Boat . He's pretty good at it. I was surprised at how easily he picked up the round part. He amazes me. He is now going to school. Well, preschool anyway. I know it's old hat for our parents and others. We always hear, "they grow up fast." Yet, just like most things in life (like "Don't touch that it's hot!" or "Brakes don't work on wet roads at high speed.") you have to experience it, before you get it. That's where we are now, as parents. Gabriel is growing up and I am experiencing the speed in which that happens. I know most of my friends are going through the exact same stage of parenting. We're watching all of our oldest children become more independent and self-sufficient. We are having serious conversations with them that don't revolve around PBS characters or silly stories. We are answering real-life questions and I'm amazed at the desire and drive they have to gain knowledge. Sometimes, Gabriel asks me to sit with him and just tell him about something. Seriously! He just says, "Daddy...will you tell me more about something?" And I'll ask, "What would you like to know about?" And he'll say, "Tell me about the people who don't have toys." or "Tell me about Jesus. When do we get to go to heaven? How did Jesus come back to life?" "Tell me about (insert any subject)." No kidding! I'm struck by this. These aren't light subjects and he isn't just trying to avoid going to bed. Well, sometimes that's the reason, but mostly he truly wants to know what we have to tell him. He listens intently and asks questions about my answers to questions. He has also been very focused on Joel, our newest addition. He is proving to be a wonderful big brother. He is loving and wants to hold him and care for him as much as he can. I've already seen Gabriel grow up a lot, since Joel's birth. He is more loving to Noah and has really assumed the Big Brother role very well and seems to take great pride in it. Another sign of his growing up too fast, and the scariest one, is that when asked why he plays with a particular girl in school, his response is "because she's pretty and has pretty hair." WHOA! Too early to deal with that, so I'm leaving it there. Gabriel will be five in October. Part of me says, "he's only five" while the other says, "he's already FIVE!!!??" He is so young, yet now is when he'll learn the most...and what he learns will impact him most. I just take refuge in the fact that after I insufficiently answer one of his "how does the world work" questions, he and I still have time to sing a round of Row, Row, Row Your Boat and pretend that "life is but a dream" for a little while longer.