Someday, twenty-odd years from now, Harrison and I will sit down over a meal or a coffee or a beer and we’ll start talking about what he was like as a child. More specifically, we’ll talk about what he was like as a toddler. As the conversation begins, I’ll smile, shake my head and simply point to my hair which will have been completely gray for twenty-odd years and say, “Well, does this tell you anything?” Perhaps he’ll smile sheepishly and ask for details.
I’ll remind him of his amazing language skills and tease him about how much his continuous question of, “Where did ______ (Daddy, puppies, ball, etc.) went?” drove his English Teacher Mama batty. Then I’ll regale him with anecdotes about his need to wear fleece footie pajamas every. single. day. I’ll tell him that we had to buy four pairs just so there would always (hopefully) be a clean one to put on and that getting dressed to leave the house was almost always a 30-40 minute process (*ahem* battle). There will be stories about how I always called him my good eater because, quite frankly, he was, with cheese, Runza, fresh fruit, and pancakes topping the list of favorites. Then I’ll share how amazed I was whenever we’d drive around town and he would point out landmarks and name places that we’d only been to once or maybe twice (the best being that McDonald’s stood for “Mama’s coffee and not Chicken McNuggets!).
Harrison will take all of this in but perhaps then he’ll ask something along the lines of, “That all doesn’t sound so bad…what’s with the gray hair?” That is when I’ll tell him about the long afternoons of popping out of his crib or bed or room and just how wild he got whenever he missed a nap. I’ll sigh a little bit and tell him how it seemed that he laughed the loudest and the hardest when he knew he was doing something naughty. I’ll go into the throwing and the swinging and the biting and the time outs and how those moments were the times when I wished for someday…not because I wanted to wish away his childhood, but because I knew it would take time and growth on behalf of both of us to see the humor in our (daily) struggles.
I can’t predict how he’ll respond to those stories, but I can hope that we’ll be close enough and healed enough to see the lighter side. Maybe it won’t even take twenty-odd years to reach that point, but certainly today is not the day when it seems even remotely funny.