He draws pictures of mice and their houses, of diggers, robots, pirate ships, tractors and us. In his pictures we have long arms and hold hands. We are bright colors, with long fingers. The grass shaggy under our feet, the sun a tangle of yellow rays at the top of the page.
His favorite pajamas are still the ones with colored hearts on them, but today he told me he didn't want to wear blue and brown plaid shorts to school because "people will think they look dirty." When he said this, I couldn't help but swallow hard. I am not ready. Not for this. Not for peer pressure and teasing, for worrying what other people think, for navigating friends and hurt feelings. It happens so fast.
In the morning he still runs into our room, his feet thudding fast on the hardwood floor, and then he's there between us, nestling close, his hair smelling like sunshine. "I love you," he whispers, stroking my cheek softly. Then in the next instant he is pulling the covers off me: they are a speed boat and he is careening around the sea, crashing into my shins.
He is a boy of a hundred expressions. He growls, grins, giggles, laughs. He cries at the sad parts in books, or when he thinks of the sad parts in books. He is thin skinned, sensitive, empathetic.
"Mommy, Will got hurt today. He fell off a bike." He told me after I picked him up from school. "Were you worried?" "I was nervous." "Did you help him?" "No. The teachers did. I kind of shut my eyes. It made me sad." I looked back into the rearview mirror to see his face. His eyelashes were wet with sudden tears.
He is currently obsessed with things that are "dangerous." Tornadoes, pirates, bumble bees, moose, alligators, monsters, and sharp knives fall into this category in his head. "Tell me what they can do," he'll say. And then when we half-heartedly list potential dangers he'll lean in conspiratorially and say, "What else can they do?" He wants the down low on danger, this kid.
He loves jelly beans, drawing with fancy pens, writing his name, summer, bare feet, being naked, playing with the hose, eating watermelon, anything chocolate, roasting marshmallows, keeping his vegetables separate on his plate, corn on the cob, matchbox cars, building with Legos, and listening to stories.
He is a kid who makes plans. He designs things in his head--pictures how many boards he'll need, and what size nails to build a particular object. He takes things apart and puts them together. He asks a 'hundred and eleventy' questions. All. The. Time.
He is my firstborn. The one who taught me grace and patience as a mama, the one who tempered my hurdy gurdy heart. And I want to pour every day with him right now into a jar of resin: keep him as he is, golden and filled with wonder. I love him so.