I’m no good at saving baby clothes or taking photos, so I feel like I have to write it down—before it’s gone like a slippery fish, leaving my hands empty. At least this way, maybe some salt will remain.
So here goes…J makes a Lego tower with a toy airplane on top, and says that when you spin the propeller, millipedes come out of the floor. He asks, “How do you make spiders?” “What is water?” and “What is God?” He builds “dragon holes” out of pillows and a “sleeping helmet” out of a blanket. He puts on every costume he has ever been given—including his full-body Wolverine suit, fireman coat, superhero cape, Lightening McQueen helmet, and construction goggles, then goes riding through our living room on his strider bike, referring to it as both his “motorcycle” and “tractor.”
He jumps on the trampoline with a grin on his face, while singing Jingle Bells and then the Friendship Song. He is proud of his new “chores,” which include clearing his dishes after he eats and putting his dirty clothes in the “dirty hamburger.” He learns a funny joke at school which includes poking yourself in the face while saying “ouchy!”
He announces in a serious voice that monsters have shadows, and tells us one morning that, in his sleep, “mama took the shadows off the wall.” I feel proud of this and imagine his little brain in a state of thick slumber, thinking deep thoughts of Plato’s Cave and other worlds. When we go to watch his dad coach the school’s basketball team, J corrects me, saying “It’s J’s team,” and “J’s the coach.”
He has week-long discussions with anyone who will listen about which animals have hands, which ones have horns, which ones have antennas, and which sea creatures have claws. He likes to say the word “fantastic!” and yells this aloud when he successfully catches a ball or jumps off the landing of the stairs. When you ask him what his favorite animal is, he will confuse you by saying a “gruffalo.” He loves reading Curious George and drawing pictures of thunder and lightning.
At a restaurant, he ecstatically awaits for his scoop of vanilla ice cream to arrive and when it does, announces: “I would like to share this with mommy.”
…So there it is for now, my way of holding on and at the same time letting go, moving forward but letting some parts remain frozen—clearing out space for more life, more growth, more movement—but forever saving those little pieces and shadows along the way, somewhere in my mind.