My son turned 8 this week.
Yesterday, he had a few friends over, and I learned that 8 is not too old or cool to jump in leaf piles. Spent leaves are all over my house. They are under the coffee table and resting in dining room chairs. Fisher crawled into bed with me around 6:00 this morning, as he frequently does, and I told him I was glad for it (the leaf jumping). He asked me why. I told him it was because he was growing up, and I wasn't ready for him to get too old and cool for things.
I asked him if he thought he'd still jump in leaves when he was 9. He said yes.
"How about 10?"
"Probably," he said.
"Eh, I don't think so."
"Then, I guess we have 3 years," I said.
He thinks I'm weird.
He wraps his blanket -- the one my mom knitted and the one that insulated him the day he came home from the hospital -- around his face and calls it a mustache. But no, I'm for sure the weird one.
He asks to watch football games on the television sometimes now. Things are changing. They always do. It's best to stay in bed as long as you can.
I struggle with mom-hood from time to time, if you want to know the truth. I suppose every mom does. I like quiet. I like not speaking. I like people-watching and following long threads of abstract thought. I like the freedom to come and go. I don't do well in a crowd.
But I appreciate that motherhood, like nothing else, reminds me daily/hourly to let go -- of expectations, plans, judgments, and preciousness. We are all vulnerable. We are all doing our best. We are all just passing through.
This past summer, manfriend, R, who is also a musician, played with a band at a late night, out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere, concert. I tagged along and lingered side stage along the thick tree line. Luna moths fluttered in the backstage lights. Elusive and fleeting, I'd never seen a live luna moth in my life, and here they flew in small families, into my hair and onto my shoulders. They were large and beautiful and luminescent, and it felt like a curtain dropped between worlds. One luna hitched a ride in the bed of R's pickup truck, one last joyride before she died.
I looked them up the next day and learned that luna moths lives are indeed fleeting. They spend almost a year developing from eggs to larvae to pupae, only to unfurl as adults and die within a week. Luna doesn't waste time on regret, nor does she waste her energy on achievement. In fact, I imagine the whole of Luna's adult life is spent exclaiming, "Wow, look at this!" from one leaf to the next, from one blade of grass to the next, from one blonde strand to the next, over and over until she rests.
I'd love to do the same.
"Can we get out of bed now?" Fisher asked.
"No," I said. I wrapped myself around him, squeezed him like a panicked python. I told him if I let him up, the day would start and he'd keep getting older. "Next year you'll turn 9, and you'll never be 8 again. Then, you'll be 10, and you'll never be 9 again!"
"Mom!" he whined, his voice muffled, his mouth smooshed into the crook of my elbow.
"What are we going to do?" I pled.
I forget Luna in the moment. What would she do?
She flutters in, touches wing to pillow case, "Wow! Look at this!" Touches wing to cotton t-shirt. "Wow! Look at this!" Touches wing to his blonde hair and says, "Wow, look at this."