I've been a bit lackadaisical with the pen and paper this week. Let's blame summer, shall we? Although, blaming my overconfidence in my brain might be more accurate. That was hysterical. Surely, I'll remember it without writing it down. Ahem. So, before I go put in a bulk order for ginko biloba, here are the moments that have stuck with me last week, a little snapshot of who we are - right now.
Nathan is like a set of favorite sturdy wooden blocks, each with one letter, one number, or one picture carefully painted on the sides. Every day as the blocks come out to play, another is added to the stack, becoming one block closer to being something: a tower, a house, a man. Last week, we added a couple more blocks to that stack. Now, eager to join us at the dinner table, Nate opens his mouth round and wide as a quarter before his spoon has barely left the surface of his bowl - one foot away. He laughs when we wipe off his hands after meals, as if even his fingers are ticklish.
As soon as I was old enough to carry objects around myself, one object that always found its way to my hands was a blanket. It was a simple blanket of waffle fabric, but the edge was rimmed with satin ribbon. I loved the feel of the blanket trim rubbing between my fingers. I sought comfort in its silky-smooth texture. As he gets tired, Nathan has begun to rub his bangs between his fingers, finding comfort in their strands, silky-smooth.
Audrey has been filling our days with toddler innovation. The picture above (sorry for its minuscule size, I snapped it quickly on my phone to catch her in the act and can't figure out how to enlarge it) was her answer to just one of many toddler dilemmas last week. She had tossed a stuffed turtle into the air. It landed on top of a nine-foot pillar. I told her I couldn't get out the ladder and feed her brother at the same time. She took apart his play mat and would have had that turtle rescued had she been a couple feet taller. I sent her to her room a few minutes later for "reading time" (my attempt at adding a quiet time into our days while Nate naps - it's slow-g0ing). Then I employed her technique to knock that turtle down. Clever girl.
I was several years older than Audrey when I took apart my mother's sewing machine. If there was a manual, I didn't have it with me, and I was attempting to replace the bobbin. Somehow, I figured out how to dismantle the bottom of the machine before I realized how to simply pop the bobbin out. I don't remember if my mother happened to walk by at that moment or if I sought her out (when I was still fumbling around with the bobbin having removed the bottom components of the machine). I do remember her panic-stricken face as she informed me how much it would cost to have her sewing machine repaired. She left the room. I reassembled the sewing machine. She seemed surprised, which I found a bit surprising. After all, I had just taken the machine apart (no one had informed me that I shouldn't be able to piece it back together).
Occasionally, these summer days feel long. The afternoon sun soaks deep into the evening and the questions, the struggles and small worries, and the toddler solutions (not to mention the growing willpower of one little man determined to stay up til daybreak with me) beat down as resiliently as its rays. I hold back my stinging eyelids, heavy. I daydream of the cool of fall and resting in piles of colored leaves. I give thanks for a husband who does dishes because I let them be, again. Mostly, I answer the questions, console the worries, and marvel at my emerging man and my budding problem-solver. I am awed by the ones who drive these longest of days, who ask question after question and scheme until the problem is solved. They have never been told that an answer cannot be sought. They have never heard that a solution cannot be found. And, even as I long to close my eyes, I pray that these days do not end too soon, that these children of mine continue to ask and solve, believing that for every question there is an answer, for every problem a possible solution. For every day, a new block waiting to be stacked.