These days, these days I am up to my elbows in glitter glue and flecks of paint and tomato sauce stuck somehow behind the knees of my new pair of jeans. I am immersed in the blossoming imagination of a two and a half year old little boy and the sole recipient of these gifts he insists upon wrapping for me: his cars, his drawings, his socks and clothing hangers, all tied up in pieces of construction paper and colored-on cardstock and Amazon boxes he found in the laundry room. "Here, mommy. I get you present. Open it, see what's inside." I am suddenly immersed in so much youth and life and creativity that life oftentimes feels surreal. It's like life has suddenly became a page out of Harold & The Purple Crayon and my walls are built with the drawings that Ethan scribbles onto tattered pieces of construction paper as our quiet music plays on in the background. My very foundation feels built upon his drawings, his art, his words and the way he outstretches his hands and asks "kiss me, mommy? I have a kiss, please?"
And with this incredible magic comes this incredible sadness that one day it will all be gone. One day he won't want to believe that grass can be purple and the sky can be orange and that baby ducks are called hippos and this imaginary world of great freedom and creativity will be gone, as drab as the world seen through adult eyes. I am busy savoring it all. I am busy reveling in what is truly important, and it's not how little sleep I get or how tired I am or how dirty my hair is or playing the "you think this is dirty, you should see my house" game with other moms. To me, right now, life is about rolling over at three in the morning and finding a little boy wedged into your bed, arms outstretched and snoring softly. Life is about laughter and Christmas lights and accepting the fact that if permanent marker on our couch is the worst thing to happen to us this year, we're doing okay. It's about breathing in this ever-fleeting bit of youth and creativity and magic because I know we will never get these days back. I can choose to match toddler tantrums with crying fits of my own or I can stop and breathe and hold my sobbing little boy in my arms because the truth is tomorrow he will wake up one day older than he is today.
I am in love with Ethan's childhood and obsessed with the want to immerse each day in magic, to somehow reciprocate for the breath of fresh air and beauty and youth that he has brought into our lives. To make each day count. To know that you can never say "I love you" too much. To understand that just because some days are hard, they aren't ruined.