September 1, 2009
My youngest has his feet on both sides of five -- still loving me as if I were his life vest, but wandering a little further each day before he runs back. He is in school now for long days with new friends I don’t know but secretly tells me I’m his favorite. He’s writing his name with lower case letters but is most thrilled he knows enough to write me love notes for a change. In the same sentence in which he declares his love he tells me school doesn’t feel so long after all. He’s leaving me. Just like he’s supposed to.
Fridays are special days because it’s our only day together for the first time in five years. During one of our Friday lunch dates I couldn’t help but fire questions at him. I wonder if he heard the note of desperation in my voice as I tried to re-enter every corner of his reality that I used to completely inhabit. What do you want to be for Halloween? Do you ever wish you were the older brother? What really scares you about the basement? Would you rather eat a cockroach or a worm? Then we got to the biggie -- what is your favorite toy? Without any hesitation and with a mouth full of food, he pointed to me with his fork and said “you.” Me.
How much longer do I have, God? I need more time. I need time to earn back the very right to the spot of favorite toy. It seems like I stopped playing so long ago. But Seth hasn’t forgotten and he’s still holding the spot for me.
Father, please let his profound declaration reignite my playfulness on our fleeting Fridays. All the satisfying adult work in the world cannot compete with deserving the right to the spot of his favorite toy. Help me me rearrange my priorities so that “play” is now in the square marked URGENT and IMPORTANT.