I live in a world of Goodnight Moon and playdough clumps hidden in the cracks of my dining chairs. Race cars and rocket ships made of used paper towel rolls mingle with my unfolded underwear. I walk the halls with a pedicure, chipped from stumbling over toy trains in the middle of the night.
I stroke baby toes, freshly washed, and I think of these things. I think of the piles and the playdough and the never-there feeling of this journey. I remember when I though that Shel would never walk, 12 months, 14 months; all these months were traveling by and he didn’t walk. And suddenly, he did. He walked in October, and he hasn’t looked back.
I think about this year. My oldest, almost four and full of Independence, celebrated the 4th of July with red cheeks from running and an aversion to taking pictures.
“Mom, I don’t have time for you to take my picture!” he groused, arms folded. I took one anyway, because…because I remember yesterday when he was baby fat and giggles.
I stroke his face still in the night, when he sleeps. When my contacts are out, he blurs into a small man, baby features that linger are hidden in the dim light and his mother’s nearsighted-ness. I give him kisses in his sleep.
We all watched the fireworks while my baby sleeps. The other baby, the one who is quickly abandoning his baby ways, watched and squealed.
Fireworks are too scary, too loud, to bright. He closed his eyes and turned his head, but when they are over he said, “Again! Daddy. Again!”
Fireworks are life; everything is scary, loud, bright. I don’t want to look, I’m afraid. Then I see the steps towards growth already taken and I want to go back and I want to say, “Again Daddy! Again!”
It’s a short life. We are all dancing in smoke, in a blur of life that never stops moving.
The playdough clumps in the dining chair tell lies, they tell me they will never leave. I get depressed over the state of my laundry pile. I can’t imagine a time where it will divide instead of multiply, but it’s smoke too, and soon it will blow away, boy-man underwear, to college. There will be less laundry soon.
So, I’m choosing to be grateful for today, and the mess that comes with it.