Yesterday, I watched Oliver and Archie run around the house, in a fit of giggles, while my cape-wearing 4-year-old taught his little brother how to brush his teeth. The activity consisted of the two of them scurrying from room-to-room, until Ollie told Arch to kneel down so he could begin “the brushing process”. No toothpaste or water were used and I am certain no teeth were actually cleaned.
Last night, they sat on the floor at a neighbor’s house, playing with a set of Matchbox cars from the early 2000’s (a million years ago, right?) alongside a few other kiddos. The only two boys, they smiled together while tiny cars shot out of the “car launcher”, cried out with excitement at the highly anticipated announcement of “Pizza’s ready!” and uproariously laughed while they roughhoused, until I feared for their underpants.
Today, I watched the two of them smiling, wide-eyed while scraping bark off an decidedly diseased tree at the park. “Mom! Lift me up so I can swing from the branches!” Oliver cried. “Mmm Uh Uh Uh!” Archie would echo; signaling that he too, wanted “up” into the tree.
Tonight I will cook them a new recipe for dinner, at which they will probably both turn up their noses. They will play with whatever toys have escaped my ever-packing compulsions (more on that later…) and run around our tiny house, slamming into walls and fighting with my giant, plastic cooking spoons.
Tomorrow we will go to church, watch football and probably eat slightly too much junk food for my liking. The boys will spill milk on their shirts and fight over trucks. But they will also squeeze me extra tight before nap and hold on to my leg extra long when I’m trying to get to grown-up church. They will rub my leg without realizing it. They will smile in their car seats without thinking. They will remind me of that one time when we went to that one place and Dad said something and then we laughed and had a popsicle.
They will remember what’s happened before with the rose-colored glasses that only children under ten and adults over eighty seem to possess. They will anticipate the future with nothing but a hopeful enchantment of what’s coming next. No regrets. No anxiety. They will live appreciating that each moment will be just as it is – and then we’re on to the next.
And I will do my damnedest to do that right along with them. Because they need a mom who is present. A mom who isn’t constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. A mom who isn’t thinking about what might happen, instead of what is happening.
Because what is happening is all there is. There isn’t any more.