We drink coffee at the table before church and Ben toddles around on his new walking legs. He carries a mega block in each hand. He puts them together, takes them apart, sets them down, claps for himself, and picks them up again.
He takes them to the windowsill and looks out. His little fat feet are too dear and he is wearing those animal pants. We thought he was advanced when we pointed to the lion and he growled. But then he growled at the dog too. And then the dinosaur. And we realized that all the animals on his pants are growl-worthy. And he is just a boy.
His wispy hair is all over. Those blue eyes ...
And I am the sentimental fool in this family-- always watching, looking. But Todd catches the moment today and it catches me off guard.
I hear him across the table- "Oh no." I glance over, ask him what's up.
He hasn't stopped looking at Ben there when he whispers this:
"I'm gonna miss him when he's big."
And he looks at me and we look back at him and every sweet moment and feeling and smell crashes into me like a sensory tidal wave. We log the now-moment.
For a split second we frame him, wrap him up and tuck him away... this little man that makes us swoon. I am certain he was just in my belly.
The moment passes but it isn't lost on us. Ben moves along and so do we. We see the clock and we're up to dress little girls in little dresses, find six little shoes that match. We can't seem to get to church on time ... not ever.
The day before, an older-wiser friend sits here in my space and tells me about her children. She tells how she took all four under six, hand in hand when they were small, to walk through nursing home halls. She went just to get out of the house, to feel and see something bigger than her little, busy life.
She tells me how she can travel freely now, her kids all grown and gone. She tells me how it doesn't last forever: this crazy season when everything is miniature and messy, full all the time and somehow still a little lonely...
She tells me to hang in there and to log the moments, to be fully here in the now...
because all the now moments string together, and they become the later.
We talk about other true things too: the relationships get better as they age; it's not so tiring when they are independent; it's so fun to see who they become. And I believe all of this. The not-so-tiring part sounds nice.
But fat little feet and slobbery kisses and bedtime songs eventually fade into back then. Life moves on and no one calls to say, "Tonight is the last night you will sing 'You are my Sunshine.'"
It just sort of happens. And that makes this sentimental gal a little sad.
So I just keep stringing these moments together, not allowing them to slip by unacknowledged. Without holding on too tight, I remember that now is always turning into then. I keep trusting Him who is timeless and holds it all together: their yesterday, their today, and their tomorrow.
And mine too.
'Cause I think I miss him a little already.