If a 7 year old could have a steady, I’m speaking with her now. She’s been his “girl” for two years now, this little pixy of amazing energy and a bundle of wonderful for my son and myself. Her mom is a wondrous human, her friends have amazing parents and equally wondrous qualities and there’s absolutely nothing I could say that would not come across as me manipulating him to end up with a girl like this as a wife.
Remember, he is seven.
I’m so getting way WAY ahead of myself.
I’m not sure if you can foster children to marry a kind of girl like this or if he’s going to rebel against this very notion but when I met them on the playground today and I asked what they liked to do at recess, she beamed, “I like to run and jump over things!”
I glanced at my son and he shrugged. “Ok,” I offered, “Let’s run and jump over things!”
She took off and didn’t look back. I ran and jumped over three things following her lead; the stepping swings, the puddle, the balancing beam. And then my fancy boots and bad knee gave way and I had to walk.
She didn’t stop or even glance back. My son’s future wife (see how irrational I am?) took off in her 7 year old youthful knees and agile feet and was not turning back.
My son and I glanced at each other. He gave me a “Moooommmmmmm,” look that I am sure will come to haunt his teenage years. I smiled widely as his girl circled back around. “Oh, man, I am not wearing the right shoes to keep up with you!” She beamed wildly. My son smiled sheepishly. I laughed.
This is what it means to me to be on the playground with my youngest at first recess. I have other stories of meeting the older one on the playground, before I became the “OMG you are NOT SERIOUSLY HERE” person. She used to welcome me in to her world. Now I’m invited when nobody is around and I cherish the moments.
I can almost understand why people have a baby when their youngest kid reaches third grade. A baby! I could start all over! That kid might not roll their eyes at me until the first one stops doing it!
Seriously, I’ve considered this option. Hard.
Instead I’m trying to be more present nowadays. I’m taking a page out of Jack Kornfield’s book and letting each and every emotion, thought, concept, feeling live inside its place in the time it arrives. I’m trying to be aware of the moment. I’m trying to let the feelings happen, to let the thoughts come in and then go away again and the feelings creep up, acknowledge them, and then watch them slide away.
In short, I’m trying to run and jump over things when it is the appropriate time to do so.
Part of this living moment-by-moment means noticing when someone does something extraordinary. Like today when a mom from my son’s class, a soccer mom friend, guarded our candy houses so I could do the aforementioned running and jumping over the things. I left her there with no less than fifteen children climbing on the bench and table like zombies on candy brain. I laughed as I waved and ran off to see my son and live in “this moment” and she cursed me ever so softly as she stood there with our candy houses and vultures for children swarming closer.
I took a photo. She called out, “Email me that, would’ya?”
These are the moments that I will recall when my son goes to the prom with this girl. Or another girl. Or when my daughter dances on my husband’s shoes on her wedding day. Or when my son is throwing his last off-sides on his high school team. Or when I crawl in to my bed the last time before my dying breath.
Living in the moment has its advantages: Namely that I get to run and chase a girl who has been the apple of my son’s eye for over a year and a half. Also, I’ve made friends in familiar situations that I can comfortably give shit to on a playground among swarming kindergarteners praying on sugar.
Mostly, though, living in the moment means remembering every detail of the day well enough to recall a single second on a blog post, or a story, or a telling of the day at the dinner table.
Mostly it means living the day as fully as possible. Gratitude is one part, the living is the other.