Elyas fell off the new scooter for the third time and I went to pull him to his feet. He smiled his brilliant little smile and leaned in to hug me. "Mommy," he murmured, "you are the nicest, sweetest, funnest mommy there is." He pressed his face up against my neck. "And you smell..." He was searching for just the right sweet nothing..."You smell just like...a cow..." Big sigh, bright dancing eyes. You can tell he thinks he's the smoothest guy in town.
I stifle a giggle. If my son knew for a second what actual livestock smelled like I would have been mortified. But that's just my kid - amazing, crazy, fun. I set him back on the scooter and gave him a push off in the direction of his brother. I ambled along behind them racing along in their red and blue helmets, bobbing and weaving along the long straight walkway leading across the campus with its impeccably manicured lawns. It was such a vision, these perfect little people who some how came from my body, scooting their way toward the sunset, occasionally pausing to lean in and share with each other some mystery of the universe that they'd unravelled in their journey across the lawn. And a voice deep within me called out "STOP!"
It all goes too fast. You hold those new born babies with their intoxicating smells and gurgling smiles for a moment and they are toddlers wiggling and stretching for the nearest thing they can dump on the newly vacuumed floor. You scoop the toddler up into your arms and suddenly he's a preschooler reading you a book and explaining the lyrics to a favorite song to you. Turn your face from the preschooler for a moment and you look back to find the confident school boy kicking a soccer ball across the lawn with the precision of Pele. And sometimes you just have to beg the universe to give you a moment more...one more second of perfection before those young men are slipping out the door on the way to college, or back to work, or off to pick up their own kids from daycare. Some days you just have to beg the universe to stop. And even though it doesn't, it will give you something to hold on to. One of the things I will hold forever is the vision of my children bobbing down an endless walkway that cuts through a sea of green grass and laughing because I smell like a cow.