Ethan and I found ourselves alone without plans on this beautiful, breezy Saturday evening. We also found ourselves without a single thought given to dinner at five minutes until six and so I borrowed a box of Bagel Bites from my mom's refrigerator, steamed up some Brussels sprouts and asked Ethan what he thought about a backyard picnic. Before I could finish the words, he was running towards the back door shouting "oooooh!" and that solidified the closest things we had to plans this evening. A picnic in our backyard on a quiet Saturday night, the only faint hints of noise coming from a neighbor's sprinklers and the barely audible sound of a dog barking in the distance. It was perfect.
The past week has been a blur, Ethan's random virus lending itself nicely to feelings of going totally stir-crazy cooped up indoors. It's simply been good to breathe the fresh air and subsequently hope that after this weekend, life can resume as planned. For days so absolutely filled with rest and recovery, I've found myself without the slightest drop of energy left after Ethan's bedtime approaches. I feel like my growing to-do list seems more daunting each day that goes by I haven't tended to it and then I'm left scrambling through the house declaring that I'm throwing everything out. Or, you know, I would if I had the energy (or time, or patience). Sometimes you need a backyard picnic to restore your sanity a little, to hear your almost two year old grab you by the hand and declare "Mommy Ethan best boy!" (Mommy is Ethan's best boy.) To lay in the itchy grass and laugh, to count bluejays on a neighboring tree. To watch a rapidly growing little boy with a tomato sauce beard run through the grass as the breeze blows his unruly locks around. These are the moments that I long for, live for; the moments I rely on to breathe restored energy into my soul.
On Friday evening, I was counting out quarters that I needed for a fundraiser my sister's dance studio is running. I gave Ethan the task of placing the coins I had counted into a tiny blue bag. Instead, he counted the quarters himself, out loud, numbers one through ten. It was a skill I hadn't realized he possessed, even though we continually count together during our tot school curriculum. I made him do the same for an audience of nonbelievers -- my husband and parents -- when we delivered the coins and then there it was again: "nine! TEN!" It's these little realizations, though they make my heart sing with pride and love in a human being I never knew was remotely possible, that cause me to realize he's growing up. These days are fleeting. The clingy ones, the tired ones, the cuddly ones, the ones with belly laughs and backyard picnics. They're all fleeting and I need to hold onto them until I inevitably can't, until the sun sets and rises and there are new memories to be made.
It's these little realizations that sting at my heart on Sick Day #3 when I watch the blue sky and green grass dance outside the window, a stark contrast to the still, dim confinement of our living room, and wish we were somewhere other than where we are. The truth is that each day will pass, each phase and each moment, regardless of if I beg it to or plead for it to stop. And as my almost two year old whispers an exhausted "love you, mommy" against his pillow, I realize how quickly it all does pass and just how tightly I want to hang onto each second, each memory, each backyard picnic and kiss goodnight, each random virus that holes us up inside while the world spins on around us.