We were over at Nini and Grampa’s house. It was a Sunday during the summer, so of course we were over there. We started a family tradition of “Swimmin Sundays” just around the time when you were born. There are 15 of us there every week- 8 adults and 7 kids.
This day gives the adults a chance to float around in the pool and pretend they are relaxing. In reality, we may relax for a total of five minutes. The rest of the time is spent applying sunscreen, fetching pool toys, breaking up squabbles, preparing snacks, and making sure the kids do not drown. Despite that, it sure is fun to laugh with my siblings and their spouses. And on the really special days, I might challenge your Uncle David to a handstand contest or watch your Auntie Wendy do a grown-woman cannon ball.
But I would bet, this home and this pool are also the stage for some of your fondest childhood memories. While I was watching you a few weeks ago, I imagined you as a grown man- much taller than me. You may have some children of your own, but you are certainly not a child any longer. And I thought to myself that even years from now, I would guess that when you feel that familiar warmth on your skin on some summer day, you may be transported right back to this minute. Right back to these days. And you will smile to yourself.
But I am afraid with time, the memory will fade a bit. The colors won’t be as bright in your mind and you may forget some details. And since you are four (almost 5, I know, I know!), you can’t write this all down.
So Future Grown Up Son, let me tell you about your childhood:
Let’s start with your body. Look down at your hands right now. I am sure they have calloused a bit over time. Maybe you have on a wedding ring. Maybe even a few wrinkles. But not right now, my sweet boy. Your hands are small and usually carrying treasures. These days, it is your beloved Paw Patrol action figures. You raise them high in the sky, making the best sound effects you can muster. You reach those hands out to share a snack with me saying, “You’ll like it mama. Just try it,” just so you can do something “togeder”. You use those hands and arms to give out the tightest and most sincere hugs. It feels like you would use them would wrap everyone you love close to you if you could.
I know someday, this will all be different. You will be grown, my son. But for now, I am so privileged to watch you during these first few years of your life. I get to smile when you ask if you can marry your sister. I get to give your boo boos “magical mommy kisses” and dry your earnest tears. I just love watching you simply being a kid. And I love seeing the world again through your eyes.
I would bet that some of these memories will fade when you grow up. Sadly, they have for me. When I am very still and quiet, sometimes I can remember the feeling of the blades of grass under my feet in the park on a summer night. Sometimes I can remember barely being able to keep my eyelids open on the way home from Disneyland. Sometimes I can remember laughing more easily and asking more honest questions.
Sometimes I remember what it feels like to be a child.
But most days, I don’t think about that. I think about what bills need to be paid, what rooms need to be cleaned, and what kid needs to be picked up from school. I think about heavy things like the state of the world and about the heartaches I have watched in lives of people I love. And son, you will think about those things one day too.
But not today.
Today, I hope you just get to be a kid. I hope you use those hands to find treasures, those legs to run fast, your eyes to see the best in the world, and your mind to imagine wildly. I hope you take a moment to really feel the sun on your skin. And for my sake, I really hope that baby belly sticks around for just a little while longer.