Life is different—both too slow and too fast. Too slow, I am not quick enough to butter toast while it’s still hot or catch him when he falls from that one step before the fireplace. Fast is just a word for how time steals him from me. It steals him in his sleep—a new boy in the morning smiling from beside me on the bed.
This morning we made eggs and ate cold toast and my boy watched me grind fresh salt and pepper and he was brave this time and didn’t cry at the loud sound of peppercorns cracking. Yesterday we shared a bagel that had fallen in the dirt. Every day is new, and every day I am a different mother than I was before. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, but always running out of time.
We bought a dozen different pinwheels from the dollar store. In the backyard, we placed them all into a circle and some afternoons we sit inside of them and watch the colors twirl. Some afternoons we paint the stones on the front porch. Porch rocks, we call them. We rinse them and we taste them and we bang them up against the ground. Sometimes milk and stones are all we have for dinner, but they are all we need.
He hasn’t let me wash his hair in four days. I am practicing the respecting of his body, but his head is beginning to smell. Instead of doing paperwork, I sit considering autonomy. All of this feels small and meaningless to me, but you should hear the way he screams and how I whisper-cry my comfort in his ear. Perhaps tomorrow.
Sometimes in the mornings while I work, he sits and cries beside me. Sometimes I wrap him in my arms, and he curls up against me and we become fused into this one single being and it is the most beautiful thing in all the world. And then sometimes I let him cry, both because I’m busy and because crying is the most natural thing that we can do, and it fixes all the places in our soul that hurt. But I am always there beside him.
Tomorrow, when he is older, I will tell him all about the cold toast and the pinwheels and the painted porch rocks. I’ll wash his hair and maybe he won’t cry at all. But I hope he does—I hope time only takes a little bit tonight.