Just when life begins to feel like wet cement closing in around me, J says, “I’m going to dress up like a booger and jump into your nose!” Laughter bounces off the walls, helping me to breathe like a normal person again and remember not to take life so damn seriously.
One night before bed, he says in a quiet voice, “I am holding a piece of lightening in my wings, see my wings (holding up his arms).” This makes me smile and gets me thinking about other worlds and how J is only three years into this life—and perhaps he still remembers something before that, another realm he is somehow still attached to, like a leaf dangling from a tree, any second about to come loose into the wind.
“Blastoff!” He says and seems to find that word especially thrilling. He has an entire conversation with himself about it: “Sometimes I go in those things and I just blastoff. I just blastoff all day. I just said that word—blastoff. I need to blastoff my water bottle. I just said that word blastoffdang-dang! I’m pretending I just blastoff into the air. I’m pretending I’m flying in the air.”
During the week, I blastoff into a swirl of cereal-pouring, lunch-making, Lego-playing, carseat-strapping, goodbye-kissing, then arriving at work for report-writing, phone-call-making, client-meeting, life-processing, empathy-providing, solutions-focusing, and then back home for more Lego-playing, dinner-helping, bed-time-routining, husband-catching-uping, loving…days that can seem both exhilarating and draining, beautiful and terrifying, changing and remaining the same, hopeless and yet never giving up hope.
Sprinkled in are moments of stillness. J wants to sit on my lap while he eats his cereal, and I am literally pinned down, slowed down, sharing space with this tiny warm being, crunching his “flaky flakes” with such quiet, incredible contentedness. Or, we swing together at the park, making a “spider” with our legs. “Mama, is the sun an animal?” he asks in such a sweet, curious voice—my love for him a tangible force of warmth, ricocheting off the ground and shooting dizzyingly into the outer limits of space and time—making me feel disoriented in a good way, like a happy drunk.
He cries when he is tired and says, “Those are my grumpy pants. Grumpy is when you close your mouth like that (scrunching up his lips).” He says, “I just have a spiked tail. I’m pokey. I’m a cactus and those spikes are starting to just poke out of me. I’m just talking about cactuses.” He says he is afraid of the dark and is always asking me, “Mama, did the sun go down yet?” He says, “I’m a storm, I’m going to tell my friends that.” During his first pony ride, he shouts, “It’s moving!” He cruises the park on his “gooter” (scooter) and likes to talk about “triangeels” (triangles). I love his strange, three-year-old speech, both of his grandpas, on separate occasions, remarking with a chuckle that he sounds like the Rain Man.
And so I continue to blastoff, moving forward and away, towards, and up, to who-knows-where, gathering speed or frozen midair, joy and love and sorrow, sometimes feeling too much or nothing at all, day after day, round and round, life closing in and opening back up.