After an unusually warm winter, we've had a few days of cold weather. Florida-level cold, anyway. My every thought lately has been consumed by choosing a school for Ethan in the fall (slow down, time) and getting things ready to push forward in the adoption process (hurry up, time). Life has felt like such a constant state of push and pull lately, getting ready and easing up, bursting forward and taking a step back to declutter. Ethan and I have been taking advantage of these cold mornings. They've been an excuse to slow down and think of nothing but hot cocoa with whipped cream and what we can do outside until our fingertips turn numb from the Florida-cold.
The other day we went to a local butterfly garden that we haven't visited since Ethan was about two years old. From the time he was born up until then, we frequented it often. It was a peaceful place to walk and breathe in nature and so we went frequently, although Ethan had no recollection of any of these visits. For him, it was the first time we had been and as his eyes took it all in with such wonder, I felt it in every ounce of my bones. The magic of childhood, I mean. The wonder of it all. The imagination and creativity and whimsy of it all that society tries so very hard to rob from our children. I don't think I've held on to anything as tight as I've been holding on to Ethan's childhood.
Today we're visiting the one preschool on my list for Ethan's first preschool tour. I keep bouncing back and forth between hysteria, depression, pride, excitement. "I wonder if they'll have a potty there," Ethan said this morning as he snuggled up under the covers between myself and my husband. I ensured him they would, and then I worried about the toilets far longer than I should have. Ethan reminds me so much of myself and yet, like all parents, I want better for him than that. I want more for him than that. I want him to grow with the confidence that his childhood is protected, even as it seeps away one tiny bit at a time into this vast, crazy world. "I bet they'll have fun toys, mommy. I want to pick vegetables in the garden there." His excitement is contagious. Hopefully more so than my anxiety.
I worry desperately about each chapter closing and then he reminds me, in his own special ways, that he'll be there in the next chapter, too. Suddenly, it all seems a lot less scary.