Tonight you asked for daddy to take you to bed. That means I won't be seeing you guys again until I silent myself into bed with you. I'll scoot you to the middle to make space for me. And even though I'll be way too tired, I'll stretch the headlamp over my head and read one of the books on the floor next to the bed. Right now I think I know which book that will be. But by the later of the eve, I might just want to learn about random backyard plants that we can eat.
You are growing up so fast, I've lost a year of firsts. You've gained a year of firsts, to which no time is attached. Your mom, the writer, has not written any of it down. Part of me doesn't know how it happened. But that's like me you'll come to see. Gold intentions manufacturing dust. And summer flower garlands eventually hung. Felt birds to grace the feeder branch, yet unhung. Half finished fish.
But now I'm just cutting myself short. We do so much together. Most of the time, we just be. I watch you color and paint. You tell me what you're drawing. The friends. The waterfalls and trains, mountains and airplanes. The octopuses with 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 7, 8 arms, and the odd seahorse. I used to do all the drawing. (You have taught me everything I know about the mighty steam engine.) Now, though, I mostly sit.
There are times I want to bottle the moment. To be able to open it whenever I want to hear it sing. One morning down by the river, you were throwing rocks into the water like you always do. I leaned on a rock with my feet in the water, where you wanted to throw your finds. I pointed to where to throw them--away from me. You told me to move out of the way, please. I found an even better boulder and reclined, while you tossed rocks and wowed your excellent splashes.
In the sun, I could feel the right side of me burning, and I said that we would have to move to the shade and eat strawberries soon. As I write this, I smile. I understand why you dropped all the rocks in your hands and ran to the backpack. But at the time, I was mentally preparing you for a transition, which I presumed you would fight. Strawberries. But red red strawberries and green green grapes. What other magic could we possibly need?
We sat in the shade of a cliff, the one right below our house. The two stone chairs Daddy placed there a few weeks back still stood there. I took one and offered you the other. We sat and watched the river, slurped fruit and listened to the birds. You offered me strawberries, and held my leg or my arm or my hand the entire time. We were in the flow, so close, so quiet, so connected. To each other, to everything. We do not need a time machine.