I want to make a huge leaf pile and jump in it, momma.
He said it in response to my asking him what he wanted to do last Sunday, not unlike he responded that he wanted four pieces of French toast for breakfast, two and a half grilled cheeses with two bowls of apple sauce for lunch, more peanut butter M&Ms when I went to the store, and an entire pizza for snack.
The leaf pile comment sucker-punched me though, a powerful undertow I'd heard about but did not believe until there I was, fully swept under, waves crashing overhead. I left the room suddenly, knowing no explanation would suffice to explain my sudden tears.
Time. Passing, rolling through, between and over us like waves, constant.
Someone hit fast forward, and my proverbial parenting cassette tape suddenly unravels, spewing delicate brown tape covered with the song of this life, first out of it's protective plastic case, then the tape deck.
I am suddenly aware that there's no turning back, no taking a pencil and methodically dialing the escaped tape back into it's protective case. I worry incessantly about this verse of our song ending, what I'll do when he's 12, 18, then when his nights are more about my being far away than close, when I am more embarrassing than funny, when this mothering gig that I have learned to embrace with 110% of my being changes, where I will go, who I will be, what I will do?
I know this: I am not ready for this to be over. I am not ready to quit living life mostly as a celebration of the little moments: a woolly caterpillar or the wonder of a lightening bug, an airplane or searching for the moon, a healthy poop, a wobbly first step, a night of sleep without interruption, the first touchdown run, a long sigh or giggle in his sleep, a tooth poking through or falling out, the first aced test, sitting up, clapping in delight, standing on tip toes to inflate his height, jumping in leaf piles, running as fast as he can, because it feels good.
And yet, I am grateful and thankful and brought to my knees in these moments for sudden awareness.
Awareness that this Fall, it might be the last that my baby wants to rake a leaf pile, and then jump there with his dogs. That the conversations on the way to school each morning, the belly laughter and made up songs in the shower, the fart noises under his armpits and subsequent snort, the dance parties in the living room are all so very precious, and also fleeting.
I dropped everything Sunday: the sudden tears, the laundry, the dust pile on the TV stand, the unwatered plants, the half emptied dishwasher. I put on an old pair of my Grandma's shoes and raked.