Today, while the boys were at Monday school, Sophia and I went for a walk. The day was warm and sunny, and for once we did nothing but follow her whim.
We wandered down the block, and her whim settled upon a small, slightly squashed green lego in the gutter. She squatted down to look at it, poked it with what we call the inquisitor finger, one daintily extended pointer that stretches out toward whatever catches her eye. "OH!" she chirped. She looked at me, then back at the lego, and reached down and scooped it up. She struggled to her feet, her fist held aloft in victory.
Now, you may be the sort of parent who likes to wait until after their first birthday to allow your child to play with broken toys they found in the gutter, but that's just how I roll. It delighted her. I did, however, stop her from tasting it. "No, no," I said, tugging her hand away from her mouth, "yukky. Blech." She studied me, shook her head, and said soberly, "beh."
"That's right. Blech."
"Beh." She stuck out her tongue, waggled it on her slob-slick chin. "Beh!" Then she went back to studying the precious smashed green lego. She turned it over in her hand, poked it with the inquisitor finger, closed her fist around it. Then she tried to stuff it in her mouth again.
We went through this cycle a few times, her standing on widely planted sturdy legs, me kneeling next to her, feeling the cool damp of the sidewalk through the knees of my pants. The sun was kind on my back, and the day seemed entirely innocent and gentle.
Last week I sat between Clay and Tre at an informational meeting about a local charter high school. After spending his entire school career being homeschooled, Tre is ready to go, to see, to try his strength out in the world.
He's going to school in the fall.
His reasons for wanting to go are good, and I feel like he's ready. I think it will be a good experience, and I hope the school is as good as it seems.
My heart is breaking.
I keep remembering our first days of doing school, nine years ago, when he sat on my lap, and the curve of his head fit under my chin. Back then I could only bear to think of taking on this task if I just committed to the year ahead of me. And now there are only a few weeks left in which I can call myself his teacher. It's almost over, it's almost gone.
It is boring, really, to trail slowly after a toddler. To watch her and stop her from eating her found treasure. You can hear, in the distance, the sounds of traffic, of a radio, of conversations, and can feel like the world is passing you by.
But I figure I might as well enjoy the moment, fix it in my memory, do the best I can just for today.
Because it simply won't last.