life right now, the four-year-old edition


Every single morning when Jace wakes up it is inevitable that the first words out of his mouth will be: “Is it the weekend mom??”
If we are all lucky, we are able to answer yes, it’s the weekend! following which Jace will happily throw his fist in the air and do a booty shake. But three days of the week (for Jace) it is not the weekend, and answering “no” to his sweet pleading morning voice is one of my least favorite things to do. He sulks a bit when it’s not the weekend, and don’t we all? “But moooommmm, school is booorrrring!” He reminds me. To which I reply, “I know honey, I don’t want to go to work today either. But it’s what we have to do today, so let’s be strong, okay?” He’s learning large life lessons at a young age.

Four years old is fun. Four years old is a little less like babysitting and more like hanging out with your best friend. It’s refreshing independence. It’s the last year before he starts school and life changes for all of us.

Four years old is watching him with pride while he learns how to be an architect with legos, write his name on paper, ride his big bike without training wheels, bravely repel down a mountain and paddle the kayak with us. It’s our hearts swelling when we are reminded over and over again how we are his very favorite people in the whole entire world.

Four years old is a lot of fart and poop jokes. A lot of them. It’s superheroes and ninja turtles all day long. It’s pizza and pop tarts. It’s a large group of little friends that rally the neighborhood together in full force. It’s showers instead of baths. It’s the beginning of learning how to do chores and saving coins in a piggy bank so he can buy his own hotwheels.

Four years old is hard work and dedication to all of the patience we can muster. It’s walking slowest when we are in the biggest hurry. It’s nonstop chatting in the backseat of the car and never ending interruptions while we try to carry on our own conversations. It’s a little bit temperamental and thin-skinned.

Four years old is filled with life lessons that prove to be hard to explain to someone quite inexperienced in life yet. And it’s a lot of questions, genuine curiosity and thirst for answers. It’s sweet simplicity and joy in the small things. It’s complete confidence in how awesome he is and a little bit of blissful obliviousness to the unkind and spiteful parts of the world.

The other day I sat on our worn leather couch with my feet crossed comfortably in front of me, a tan woven mexican blanket covering my legs and a paperback book open in my hands. I was almost half way through a new book, one so enticing that I hadn’t been able to put it down most of the morning. I was so focused on its words that a movie practically reeled in my head while I read, so I’m not sure what jarred my focus, but something did and it pulled me out of my movie reel in the same way you wake up from a deep slumber in the middle of a dream. It takes you a moment to focus, to remember who and where you are.
As my reading fog started to clear, I realized that my four year old was intently focused himself on a very exciting car and helicopter chase with some of his toys. He was at my feet making the sound effects of his vehicles so conspicuously that I couldn’t help but be amazed. As the afternoon’s sunlight streamed in, painting us in orange hues which reminded me of an aged picture developed from a 1970’s Polaroid camera, I watched him play from behind my book and I had a moment of clarity so intense that I could practically feel the pressure of my swelling heart against my chest.

Life is so chaotic that I often find one of my largest struggles to be living in the moment. I’m always pushing myself to let go of everything else and to be aware of things like where I am and what I’m experiencing right then. It’s practically my life goal, really. So when I find myself aware in a moment that is so tiny, a moment that is so noteworthy and consequentially beautiful solely because it is disguised so perfectly as small and insignificant, I stay very still and consume as much of it as I possibly can. It makes me feel like a bird who is perched on the tallest tree above the world, watching contently every movement below her, without a care for anything else outside of what she is watching right then and there.

If I am caught in the downpour of a moment like this I want to let myself drown in it. Because those moments are so beautiful and also, but mostly because, they are so very rare.

I must have soaked like a sponge in that downpour for at least twenty minutes on that particular afternoon. I sat behind my book and watched Jace in his play. He moved from my feet to the floor, to the couch just across from us, back to my feet, back to the floor. He raced his cars and he flew his helicopters with perfect boyish precision. I soaked in the details of the moment: the way that the afternoon lighting made it feel like an old fashioned photograph taped to a plastic covered sheet with browning edges in a thick leather scrapbook. The quiet sound of the dishwasher swishing softly in the kitchen behind us.  The way that one small sliver of his blonde hair bounced softly when he tipped his head to the side. The sweet childhood innocence and contentment that filled the room so beautifully palpable and perfect.

Four years old is for helping me to slow down and remember what's really important in life. It's that innocence and contentment and confidence that I love with all of my soul.

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