“When I grow up I want to live across the street from you. I want to live in a blue house with a red door. I’ll have five kids and a wife and we will visit you every day.”
Your eyes are wide with excitement when you tell me this.
“The number on my house will be 6531 because that is how old me and my brothers are today and I like this year better than any other year and I always want to remember when we were 6, 5, 3 and 1.”
You lean in for the hug you need, “Mom? We are going to stay together always, right? Because we are family nothing is ever going to keep up apart, right?”
“I will be here as long as you need me,” I say.
“Moooom,” you tilt your head to the side in exasperation, “I am ALWAYS going to need you.”
“Then I will always be here for you.”
You nod, satisfied, and move off to chase your baby brother and build a rocket and grow 4 inches in a year and learn your multiplication table and catch fish and carve wood and mow the lawn and kiss a girl and finish school and pack up your car and drive away.
You are 5 today and gone tomorrow.
So do me a favor, dear boy. Stretch out every day. Roll the minutes out in a long, slow line of marching ants. We can lay down side by side and watch them march. It will take a long time but we will stay for every second of it.
Speaking of ants, lets have a picnic. Out in the sun, under a tree, with lots and lots of books strewn about and a hefty slice of pie for each of us.
You can invite me to lie down on the grass beside you and we’ll watch the clouds together. I’ll have to deliberately lay the anxieties of the day aside and embrace contentment in the small sacred space between today and all the tomorrows after it.
Lets have an adventure that has nothing to do with the rest of the world and everything to do with our little family, rolling around the great outdoors.
Lets climb the tallest tree and tie a sail in the boughs and go on a floating pirate voyage into the clouds.
Lets have messy ice cream days and crazy dances in the mud hole.
Lets watch the baby chicks hatch. I’ll memorize the freckles on your nose and the sweep of your lashes as you take in all the downy softness of newly born wonder.
Lets practice being a family of forgiveness, grace and mercy.
Lets stretch 6531 as far and long as we can until the days of 7642 arrive and then lets do it all over again
This piece was written for our original blog Nest to Nest in May of 2014