I am watching my five-year old snap legos together. I have been allowed to help, to find the needed pieces. He has told me I need to stop kissing him; “It makes me all sweaty.” These hands so adeptly maneuver between spires: I never expected to call these chubby fingers “nimble.” He does a double take and sees one piece is just slightly out of position. This boy. Where did he come from?
I still remember teeny fingers grabbing at mine, missing. Waving a rattle around to hit the broad side of the laundry basket. Missing.
That smile is still slow to come. Those eyes still stare for a million years before he answers with a grin, or a word. There’s still the occasional drool, reminding us that he’s got some something with a weird name. Motor planning, deficiency. Nothing you’d notice.
Memories flood back with every smell, every movement, every time he looks at me. Is this what it is to be a mother, to continually hold four or five, or ten, memories for every second? I relate this day to a day he was a baby, to a day he was a toddler, to when I was a child, to the moment he was born. Blink of an eye and I have traversed decades, back and forth across the last few years most of all.
I rub his back. I keep from kissing him, though it’s a struggle. I want to convince myself that this day is now; separate it from the others I can see with the same clarity. Give it prominence, allow it to be the focus, knowing it will come again, the connection to this day, years from now, when he shows me his next marvelous, miraculous creation and I barely remember the miracle in front of me.