June 3, 2014 by CassieCravings
A curly-haired boy twirled down the hallway. He was naked save the mismatched socks. He sung a song with lyrics all his own as he twirled to his destination. From one hand dangled a dear friend of the teddy variety, dancing as he twirled. His other arm was tucked tightly to his chest. Only a few matchbox cars peeked from their protective space in the crook of his elbow. On he twirled down the hallway with a less-than-elegant turn at the corner into the game-room. When asked what he was up to, his response was, “Justht saving the wowrld…again.”
This undressed crooning world-saver had just turned four years-old. I experienced the same sentiments all parents do: “Where has the time gone?” and “It seems like he was born just yesterday.” The birthday was a caution light to slow down, to reflect, to understand that time will only pass more quickly.
I watched my carefree child somersaulting over the couch as he climbed mountains and crawled through valleys to go to the ends of the earth to save it. “Would you like some clothes?,” I asked. He shook his head, springing up from a deep pit, also known as the toy box. “‘Dey hold me back,” he gasped before sinking back into the deep pit. I kissed his forehead and wished him well in his world-saving before turning back to my chores of the day.
While I bent over laundry, the noise of his play echoed through the house. I thought of the moment he was born, of the labor that brought him into this world, of his squishy newborn face and his willowy arms and legs. I thought of the relief when I heard his cry and of how the world had stopped spinning when I first held him.
Folding his tee-shirts, I tried to remember how small his first outfits were. I smiled at the thought of bringing him home and introducing him to our modest but loved dwelling. That was a moment of sheer joy and total terror. This little thing, barely six pounds, was now for us to care for and to nurture. He looked so tiny in his bassinet. He snuggled so trusting against my chest. Now four years have raced by.
There have been countless firsts, messes, snuggles, Band-Aids and games. In the garage were buckets and buckets of outgrown clothes and toys. On every window was a print to remind me of how small his hands still are. Throughout each room was a trail of pillow forts, Lego landmines, and favorite books.
Suddenly I realized that I was still clutching that same tee-shirt. I gently smoothed out the creases. The unmistakable and quick patter of his feet grew louder as he dashed through the doorway. “I’s fowrgotted sum’fing,” he exclaimed. Breathless and excited, he jumped into my arms. “I’s fowrgotted you’s hug and kissth.” A sloppy, sticky kiss landed square on my cheek. He squeezed and squeezed around my neck until satisfied with the quality of hug.
“I love you,” I whispered into his curls. “Uh huh. I loves you too.” He scrambled back down as quickly as he had entered the room.
“Did you save the world?” I called after him.
Disheveled curls and a mischievous grin peeked back into the room, “Of couwrsthe!”
With that, my newly turned four year-old darted back to play. I turned and sighed at my pile of laundry, tossed the tee-shirt into the pile, and joined my curly headed boy and Izzy the Bear in their next great adventure.